Ball joints basically the bearings connecting the steering knuckles and the control arms. You can find these spherical things in all cars. Ball joint failures are not a common problem in cars but like all things they are subject to wear and tear due to prolonged use. Whenever there is a ball joint problem your car’s steering and suspension will be severely affected. You may notice mysterious clunking noise or drifting steering when there is a ball joint problem.
Eventually, ball joint failure can lead to a massive failure of the car. Here are some things that you need to know about ball joints. Ball joints basically connect the wheels to the suspension. This allows them to move in sync. These clever innovations are there to act as a pivot mimicking the human body. A ball joint contains bearing studs that are snugly fit inside a lubricated casing.
They are responsible for the smooth movement in the suspension. It does this by connecting the power arm to the steering knuckles. The front suspension of a car usually comes with one type of ball joint (lower ball joint), but there are models that come with upper and lower ball joints.
Why Do You Need to Replace Ball Joints?
Ball joints usually deteriorate due to exposure to dirt, grit, and dust or if grease escapes. When that happens there is a lack of lubrication which accelerates wear and tear. Additionally, they are subject to regular rigors of driving and is susceptible to rust after prolonged use. You may experience excessive play and looseness, more than the manufacturer’s recommendations. The main job of a ball joint is to provide a smooth transition between parts.
However, it should not be so loose as to wiggle or jolt up and down. When this happens you should prepare yourself for a ball joint replacement. So how do you know that these joints need replacing? There are some common symptoms. One of them is when your car makes clunky, knocking noises when going over bumps.
If you hear creaky or squeaky noises when the suspension is moving that too is another sign of ball joint damage. Additionally, if you are experiencing drifting to the side shaky or loose-feeling steering that too is a sign of ball joints failing. Ball joint damage can even lead to uneven or premature tire wear or feathering.
Checking The Ball Joints
If you experience those symptoms, then there is a good reason to suspect that your car has ball joint damage. You should check the ball joints as soon as you suspect the damage to avoid something disastrous. Now, replacing and checking the ball joints is not an easy job. Some cars have the ball joints integrated within the power arm. This makes it tricky to access and work on, this is even harder on cars that are old and have rust problems. So if you suspect your car has ball joint damage I suggest you go to your local mechanic asap.
So there you go these are some important facts about ball joints that every driver should know and follow.