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How Much does a Ball Joint Replacement Cost?
All cars have suspension and steering systems, allowing the driver to control its direction and comfort.
One key component of suspension and steering systems is the ball joint.
In normal operation, the ball joint allows a wheel to travel vertically and pivot on axis while maintaining its position in relation to the road.
A ball joint will eventually wear in its socket, which can cause annoying noise and handling concerns – even unsafe driving conditions.
A typical ball joint will last from 100,000 to 200,000km, however harsh driving conditions can cause failure well before that.
Replacing a single upper or lower ball joint is approximately $250 to $400, depending on the type of car you drive.
Because the lower ball joints bear your car’s weight constantly, they are likely to wear out sooner than the upper ball joints.
Ball Joint Replacement
What is a Ball Joint?
The ball joint is almost universally used in modern cars for the front suspension and, at times, the rear suspension.
Its purpose is to allow movement on more than one axis, like vertical and rotating simultaneously.
The ‘ball’ is a spherical metal ball with a stud attached, usually made of hardened steel.
It is contained in a socket that holds the ball snug with the stud protruding out.
The socket, or cup, has a lining of synthetic material inside to prevent metal-on-metal wear.
The ball joint is covered in a rubber or polyurethane boot and grease is injected into the joint to minimise wear on the ball, the socket, and the lining.
Over time, the ball joint cup wears. Instead of the ball being held firm in the socket, end play begins to form.
Grease in the joint minimises the wear, but only for so long. Once end play in the ball joint meets or exceeds the manufacturer’s specification for replacement, it must be replaced.
Symptoms You Require Ball Joint Replacement
- Clunk from front of car when travelling over rough surfaces
- Rattling noise from suspension when the car’s weight shifts
- Abnormal tire wear due to improper wheel alignment
- Torn ball joint boot
- Grease leaking from ball joint
How are Ball Joints Replaced?
- The technician lifts the car on a hoist or rests it on jack stands
- The wheels at the affected locations are removed
- The ball joint is separated from the steering knuckle, usually with a special tool
- The ball joint’s fasteners, whether bolts or rivets, are removed from the control arm
- In many cases, ball joints are pressed in and require an industrial press to remove them, meaning the control arm assembly is removed
- The worn ball joint is removed and a new one fitted – either bolted in or pressed in, depending on the car design
- The control arm is refitted and the wheel installed
- A wheel alignment is completed
- The technician road tests the car to confirm the symptom is gone
Tips to Remember
- Ball joints often require replacement in pairs
- Always have a wheel alignment performed when suspension work is completed
How important is Ball Joint Replacement?
Because ball joints enable your car to steer as well as contribute to its handling, they are a critical component for safe driving.
If you chance driving with worn ball joints for a long time, you could experience a separated ball joint.
It causes loss of steering and is likely to cause an accident, endangering you, your passengers, and other motorists. Timely ball joint replacement is critical
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