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.