Mechanics

LOUD BANG

1996 Nissan Maxima • 200,000 miles

I was driving home and then I heard a loud bang and then my car stopped going, it sounded like if it was on neutral but it was on drive, and then I tried putting it in Parking and it kinda wouldnt let me because it would make grinding noises.
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Evaz
September 9, 2013.



Without the luxury of actually seeing the car, what you described sounds like a broken cv joint on one of the half shafts. When one side can spin freely, the other wheel won't drive the car, and the freely-spinning side will make the same buzzing sound as if you tried to shift into park while the car was still moving. If you shift to neutral first, and wait about 15 seconds for the spinning gears to slow down, it should go into park with no or little noise, but that will not hold the car from rolling like park normally does.

New cv joints are fairly expensive, but it is customary to install a remanufactured half shaft, not just the joint. Half shafts for common car models have come down a real lot in cost. Some are as low as 40 bucks.

Caradiodoc
Sep 9, 2013.
Ya thats what it was, I replaced it and the car is fine now. Do you know why that happens though?

Tiny
Evaz
Sep 11, 2013.
The outer joint has six highly-polished grooves in the housing and six in the center part, then they're mated with six precision balls that roll in those grooves. That is covered with an accordion boot that squeezes the grease back into those grooves with each revolution. Typically the boot dry-rots and splits, and the grease sprays out. Dirt and water also get in and tear those machined surfaces up. That results in a clicking noise when turning and accelerating. That is the warning clue that the joint is going to fail. It can last from a month or two to years. A joint without that wear and damage rarely breaks on its own.

The inner joint can fail in different ways too. An inspection will reveal which joint broke and why.

Caradiodoc
Sep 11, 2013.