When driving on the road, do you always hear a loud noise every time you hit a pothole? Do you notice uneven tire wear? You could have a bad kneecap.
But what exactly is a ball and how much will it cost you if that’s the problem? We’ll break it down for you all here.
Even if that doesn’t happen, you’ll know what to look for so you can catch a dropped ball early and potentially save money in the future!
What is a baseball joint?
You can find ball joints on almost any vehicle on the road, as they are essential parts of the vehicle’s suspension and steering system.
The simplest way to describe a ball joint is that it is a bearing that allows components of the suspension and steering system to move without metal-to-metal contact. The actual ball joint is a ball that sits inside a ball joint bushing, usually a rubber component that is filled with grease.
These ball joints are critical to the proper operation of your vehicle, and proper maintenance of the ball joints can extend the life of the various components of your vehicle’s suspension and steering systems.
You can have these ball joints on the front and rear suspension components, and you usually have one at the end of each tie rod in the steering system.
Ball vs Rod Lashing Component
When reading information about kneecaps, it’s a common mistake to think “Isn’t that pulling?” The truth is that although the tie rod has a ball joint on the end of the tie rod, it is not the same component, although you almost always replace them together.
The ball joint is simply the rubber piece and threaded bolt on the end of the crank. Although new ball joints come with new tie rod ends, they are not the only component of your vehicle that uses ball joints. Two other common suspension components that use ball joints are the upper and lower control arms.
Signs of a Worn Ball Member
Now that you know a little more about what a ball joint is and what it does, it’s time to determine if this is really what’s going on with your car. Below are four different symptoms that may tell you it’s time to replace your vehicle’s ball joint.
#1 – A rattling or rattling noise
Noise is by far the most common symptom of a bad kneecap. Whether it’s a broken kneecap or a damaged kneecap if there’s too much play, you’ll hear the clicking sound as it bounces back.
Metal-to-metal contact is not silent and does not sound good. The noise will be especially noticeable when driving over uneven surfaces, so the ball joints have room to bounce and make noise.
#2 – Direction drop or pull
Whether it is a damaged ball joint in the tie rod end or control arm, your vehicle will not turn right if you have a damaged ball joint. This is because there is a delay in the system, meaning you will have to go further to get the same results.
It also means that your vehicle may talk a little on the road when cornering as the ball bounces from side to side. When you take your hands off the wheel, your vehicle will likely pull to the right or left, and it’s not impossible for it to pull completely in either direction, depending on how the bumps hit it at the time.
#3 – Excessive vibration in the cabin
When things bounce around in your steering and suspension system, chances are you’ll feel it. The vehicle bounces and the system that is supposed to level your vehicle is not working as it should.
But while you probably feel it, chances are it’s not as strong as you think. Unless the ball joints are extremely worn, they don’t seem to jump much. But it will be noisy and you won’t feel like you’re riding on a new suspension system.
#4 – Uneven Coin Toss
Although it’s better to catch a worn ball component before it gets to that point, if you let it go long enough, you may notice uneven tire wear. This uneven wear usually occurs on the inside or outside of the tire, but not on both sides.
Not only that, but your vehicle’s tires are likely to wear out much faster than they would if everything were working properly.
Can you drive with a bad knee?
Although the chances of something catastrophic happening if you go over a faulty joint are small, they are not zero. The ball joint holds the essential parts of your suspension or steering system together, and if it wears down enough, it can fail completely.
If this happens, you could lose control of your vehicle and have an accident. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you replace faulty ball joints as soon as you discover the problem.
Ball Joint Replacement Cost
The good news is that if you need new ball joints on your vehicle, you shouldn’t have to spend a ton. Expect to spend between $250 and $350 if you have a mechanic replace the parts for you.
About $200 to $300 of that price goes toward labor, but if you think you can do the job yourself, you might want to think again. You’ll need to depress the ball joint and install the new ball, and it’s not something many home mechanics have on hand.
If you’re trying to do it yourself, it’s best to replace the entire component, and usually costs as much as having a mechanic replace the ball joint.
Should ball joints be replaced in pairs?
Although it is not technically necessary to replace ball joints in pairs, if one wears out, the other has likely lost too much life.
If the mechanic crushes the old ball joint and replaces the entire component, we recommend that you replace both at the same time.
The reason for this is that the labor overlaps, so you won’t have to spend as much compared to returning them and replacing the other ball joints in the future.
Is alignment required after replacement?
Probably not. As long as you are only replacing the control arm ball joints and the last alignment was done when the ball joints were in good condition, you should not need to do an alignment after the change.
However, if the problem was the tie rod end, you will need an alignment, and if you feel like your vehicle is pulling after replacement, the previous alignment may have gone out due to poor knees and you didn’t understand it. this.
Finally, if you have left the defective ball joint in your vehicle long enough, it may have misaligned before you replace it. However, just because you are replacing the ball doesn’t automatically mean you need an alignment.