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Clunky or vague steering and suspension is a safety issue. Steering and suspension problems need to be addressed as soon as you start feeling unfamiliar, or uncomfortable, feedback through your steering wheel.



What are Ball Joints?

Ball joints allow the wheel hubs to pivot on an axis and are a vital part of your vehicle’s suspension and steering systems. You’ll find ball joints attached to the end of the control arms on many front- and rear-wheel drive vehicles. Ball joints are bolted or pressed into the vehicle’s control arms. On some vehicles, you may need to replace the entire control arm ball joint assembly in order to replace the ball joint.

How do Ball Joint Assemblies Work?

Ball joints are sometimes called ball and socket joints. The socket part bolts or presses into your vehicle’s control arm. The ball part of the joint allows the wheel hub to move with the control arm as your suspension compresses and rebounds. Some vehicles are equipped with ball joints that have grease fittings. To preserve the life of your ball joints, these fittings should be greased frequently. It’s a good idea to grease the fittings during every other oil change.

How are Ball Joint Assemblies Made?

The ball and socket must be fabricated using machine tools. Then the two parts are pressed together along with a rubber sleeve or boot. Pep Boys stocks the ball joint assemblies enthusiasts often require to complete popular 4x4 axle conversions as well as other custom projects.

Why do Ball Joint Assemblies Fail?

  • Wear and tear takes its toll on suspension components, including ball joints.
  • Heat, moisture, vibration, and forceful impacts are common causes of ball joint failure.
  • Ball joints typically last at least 60,000 miles.
  • Failure to grease your ball joints may result in premature failure.

What are the Symptoms of Ball Joint Assembly Failure?

  • Clunky, crunchy, unsettling feedback may be felt through the steering wheel as the suspension compresses and rebounds.
  • Your steering may feel like it “clicks” from one position to another as you steer.
  • Steering may suddenly change directions while you’re driving.

What Are the Consequences of Ball Joint Assembly Failure?

  • Vague, imprecise, or clunky steering may lead to an accident if it becomes uncontrollable.
  • In extreme circumstances, the ball joint may detach from either the control arm or the wheel spindle. This could result in an accident.

Your suspension and steering should feel rock solid as you drive down the road. Anything less indicates a problem that could easily become more expensive to fix as time passes.

If you have questions or concerns about ball joint assemblies or any of your vehicle’s components, come into your local Pep Boys where we can answer any question, help you find any part, or perform any vehicle service you might need.