A ball joint failure is not a common occurrence. It’s a result of years and years of wear and tears on a car. The scary part is that your overall vehicle handling ability will get compromised when the ball joints fail. For those who don’t know what ball joints are, they connect the wheels to a car’s suspension system, enabling them to work in synergy.
Consequently, they allow a driver to precisely control the vehicle. Modern cars usually feature at least two ball joints. In fact, many trucks come with four ball joints.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace The Ball Joint?
Depending on the design of the ball joint, the cost of the part would vary from $20 to $160. With the labor cost added to the equation, be prepared to drop around $100 to $500 for a full ball joint replacement. You can simply call some of the local shops to inquire how much they charge for a service of this nature.
|Mr. Tire||$140 – $500
|Walmart||$20 – $160
|Your Mechanic||$110 – $450
You can also get in touch with your go-to car dealer to get an estimate. Generally, dealer prices would be on the higher side, but not always.
Keep in mind that the ball joints may not be one of the biggest components in your car, but they do play a big role in a vehicle’s overall operation. Therefore, it’s advisable to get the ball joint replacement job done from a credible auto repair shop.
What Causes Ball Joints to Go Bad?
Built-wise, ball joints have some rubber parts to them, which deteriorates with age. Lack of maintenance is another common reason for premature failure of ball joints. When water and debris get into the socket, ball joints deteriorate at a faster rate.
This usually happens due to the use of a bad-quality lubricant, which fails to do its job of keeping dust and dirt away from the socket.
This should explain why it’s important to use good quality lubricants for vehicle maintenance. Of course, natural wear and tear cannot be avoided, even if you were to use the most expensive lubricant out there. However, you can prevent a ball joint from failing prematurely by lubricating it.
What are the Symptoms of a Failing Ball Joint?
Typically, ball joints last long. As a matter of fact, they are often forgotten until they go bad. The worst news is that you won’t know that they have gone bad until it’s too late. Yes, you might not notice anything weird while driving, until the ball joint fails completely. That said, the steering response will be a bit sluggish.
However, it won’t be easy for most car owners to link the sluggishness to a failing ball joint. Occasionally, you might also hear a knocking noise when you hit road bumps. Normally, you should get the ball joints checked from a mechanic at 60k miles and then on at every 20k miles. You can also get them checked every time you get new tires on your car.
Occasional inspection is a necessity because if it breaks completely, you will be at God’s mercy. After all, a ball joint breakdown means that you will lose control of the wheels.
When to Replace a Ball Joint?
Ball joints have a working life of 80,000 to 1,50,000 miles, depending on their quality. When a ball joint surpasses the vehicle’s suggested lifespan, it must be replaced. Using it past the manufacturer’s suggested terms of usage would mean testing your luck. Of course, it’s advisable to get them checked and replaced if they wear out sooner than usual.
Driving conditions can take a toll on ball joints. As a result, they can wear out way before their estimated lifespan. If you fail to address the issue with time in hand, they may separate. Subsequently, you will lose control of your car. We don’t need to tell you how bad this situation can be.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to replace ball joints in pairs. If one out of the two ball joints is holding good, you don’t have to replace both.
What is the Ball Joint Replacement Procedure?
- The process will begin by removing both the tires. For the same, the car needs to be jacked up.
- Then, the control arms will be removed. There could be one or many of them in a car.
- Once both the wheels and the control arms are taken off, the ball joints will be removed.
- Usually, ball joints cannot be easily repaired. Therefore, car mechanics suggest a replacement.
- The ball joint will be fitted in the place of the earlier one. Of course, the new model must match.
- Then, the wheels and the control arms will be fitted back at their respective place.
- If there is a need, the mechanic will get the vehicle aligned.
- Finally, the mechanic will test the car for any issues by taking it for a short ride. He will look for unusual sounds, which will tell him whether or not the job was perfectly executed.
Ball Joint Replacement Cost: How to Save Money?
Mechanically-savvy folks can save money by replacing the ball joint with their own hands as opposed to taking it to a car mechanic. However, this job should not be attempted by a non-experienced person.
A lot of vital parts have to be removed and reattached in the right away to complete the job, which would need some skill and attention to detail.
Therefore, you shouldn’t look to attempt a car repair yourself, if it’s not your cup of tea. In hindsight, you should just observe the procedure to ensure that everything is done correctly. If the mechanic fails to do a good job, it will lead to an expensive repair down the road. You can avoid this by supervising the project.