So, what are ball joints, anyway? The ball joint is a ball-and-socket assembly that connects the steering knuckle to your vehicle's control arms. Symptoms of failing ball joints can include squeaks, clunks, and poor road manners, with wander and a constant need for correction. With the right tools, a do-it-yourselfer can replace ball joints in an afternoon. Just be sure to get an alignment after the job is done, because steering angles will be affected. Shop Advance Auto Parts if it's time to replace your ball joints!
What are ball joints?
The ball joints are what connects the steering knuckle to the control arms. It's a ball-and-socket joint that allows for up-and-down movement of the suspension as well as steering.
Does every car have ball joints?
Yes, regardless of whether your vehicle is 4WD, AWD, RWD or FWD, your suspension will use ball joints. Many vehicles have two per side, referred to as 'upper and lower' ball joints.
What happens when ball joints wear out?
At one time, ball joints were equipped with a grease fitting that allowed for lubrication. Today, many ball joints are a sealed unit, with a heavy grease between the ball and its cup. Ball joints will inevitably wear out from normal use, somewhere between 75k and 150k miles. Worn ball joints will result in 'squirrelly,' unpredictable handling and road manners. If they fail completely, the knuckle can separate from the control arm, creating a dangerous driving situation.
What are the symptoms of worn ball joints?
You may hear squeaking, groaning, or popping noises from worn ball joints, as well as the poor handling properties mentioned above. Worn ball joints can also result in uneven tire wear. If you suspect worn ball joints, jack up a front wheel and grasp the tire at the top and bottom. If there's more than just a little bit of play when you manipulate the tire, the ball joints are likely worn.