Simple Answers from Protech Auto Service
June 11, 2022
Most drivers in Tehachapi know ball joints are an important part of the suspension system. Visualize a ball attached to a spindle with the ball enclosed in a cup. This allows the joint to move in several directions, kind of like how your hip works.
Most vehicles have two or four ball joints on the front, depending on the type of suspension system. The joint allows the wheels to move up and down as the tires go over bumps, as well as allowing the wheels to turn as you steer. The ball joints are continuously working and are subject to normal wear.
Most ball joints on modern vehicles are maintenance free, meaning they are sealed and cannot be lubricated. Once the lubricant breaks down or leaks out due to a broken seal, the ball joint will wear more quickly.
You may hear a clicking or popping sound from a corner of the vehicle when turning and/or going over bumps as a ball joint is failing. Your steering may begin to feel sloppy or stiff, depending on how the joint is wearing. You may even feel vibration in the steering wheel at highway speeds. Unusual tire wear is also a sign.
It’s important to replace worn ball joints before they fail. Once it fails, the joint may not be able to constrain the steering angle of a wheel, causing you to lose control.
Your owner’s manual calls for periodic suspension system inspections. The ball joints are an important component that will be inspected for safe function. At Protech Auto Service, we can check to see if you are due for a suspension system inspection. And ask your Protech Auto Service service advisor for an inspection if you are experiencing any of the signs of ball joint wear.
The friendly and knowledgeable mechanics at ProTech Auto Service will take good care of your car and answer any questions you may have. Protech Auto Service is located at 410 W. J St., Ste. G and their phone number is (661) 822-1100.