Most cars on the road today, be they front-drive or all-wheel drive, use some kind of constant-velocity front axle joint. Cars that use them typically have four total: two on the inside of the axle shafts and another two at the ends of the axle shafts right behind the wheel hub. CV joint symptoms, regardless of make, are fairly universal; the only difficulty is in figuring out which one of the four has failed, and how badly.
On the inside, a CV joint works something like the ball-and-socket joint in your shoulder. The primary difference is that the CV joints typically has three to six of these ball-and-sockets, while your shoulder -- presumably -- has only one. When the tiny bearings in a CV joint start to wear out, a tiny clearance opens up between the bearings and the outer bearing shell. Once that happens, the CV joint starts to build up momentum before engaging and quickly hammers the remaining bearing material into shrapnel.
Clunking Under Acceleration
As you might expect, often times the first warning sign of impending CV joint will be the sound of the internal components hammering together. You'll notice it first as a light tap under acceleration and braking; within another hundred miles, that light tap will likely grow into a noticeable knock and then to a hard knock that you can feel through the floor. Both the inner and outer CV joints will exhibit this kind of clunking under acceleration and braking.
Clunking While Turning
This is the classic symptom of CV joint failureand generally indicates a bad outer CV joint. The outer CV joint goes through a far greater range of motion than the inner one; about 50 to 60 degrees, compared to about 10 degrees. As such, the outer CV joint will start to pop and bind more than the inner one as its bearings flop around and wedge against each other and the bearing carriers. Generally speaking, a CV that clicks worse when turning right than it does turning left indicates a bad right-side bearing; and vice-versa for the left side. The CV will also often click worse in reverse than in drive.
Shudder and Growling
A shuddering under acceleration may indicate a bad inner or outer CV joint. This tends to happen when the CV joint assembly bounces back and forth inside the carriers instead of clacking once and locking into place. Some vehicles are more prone to shuddering than others. A gravelly growl is usually the sound of dry metal vibrating, bouncing off of or binding on dry metal. It typically indicates a lack of lubrication, which often precedes failure in the case of a CV joint. However, growling does not, in and of itself, indicate a bad CV joint -- wheel bearings will make the same noise under the same conditions.