Bad Ball Joint Symptoms And Solutions
Ball joints being a part of the suspension system play a vital role. These joints are responsible for connecting the control arm of a car or any vehicle to the steering knuckles. This way, the joints handle the overall movement of the front wheels and suspension. Sometimes, the joints wear off, but that can be identified using the bad ball joint symptoms.
Bad Ball Joint Symptoms: Knowing If A Ball Join Is Malfunctioning
Here we are going to tell you some situations that take place only when there is a problem with the suspension system or the ball joints. It is recommended that once you encounter any of these conditions, do take your car to the professional repairer as leaving it uncured only invites the misfortune.
Steering Wheel Wandering Off
In the beginning, the signs can be subtle or not very harsh that come noticeable enough just in one drive. However, it is one of the Bad Ball Joint Symptoms, where the overall driving experience gets compromised. When you feel the vehicle does not feel as stable as it used to be, then there is something down there that is malfunctioning.
It is quite noticeable whenever you use that steering wheel, and it makes you wander instead of giving that stability. It is like the steering wheel trembles every time you take the turns that once used to be precise.
You can call it a phase where ball joints have begun to wear off, and thus, you should not wait anymore. Driving without having the situation repaired, only worsens the situation. The joints may not be necessarily worn out, but instead, they can be loose. Take it to a professional and get to know the exact reason why you do not get a quality ride.
Noise: Thump or Pound
If you are able to hear loud thudding noise while driving, it is about the bad ball joints. Even a slight bump or getting your car through the pothole can make you hear the noise. It indicates that there is a problem with the suspension, and due to the worn parts, the shock-absorbing property is not working well.
In the beginning, the noise may not be harsh, but as the time goes if you leave the issue untreated, the intensity arises. This can be a life-threatening situation, and it only gets worse with time. Ball joints affect the overall chassis of the vehicle, and if a joint completely breaks off, you won’t have any control on the vehicle while moving it into any particular direction.
Tire wear is an easy way to determine if there is something wrong with the ball joints. You may experience an uneven ride where the tires are swinging unusually. It happens because the ball joint makes the tires point outward. As a result, the tire seems worn out from one end and okay at another end. This condition is visible in both of the front tires easily when there is an issue with the joints.
The wear happens at one side of the tire’s tread that goes to the middle area to some extent. This pattern repeats on both tires, it seems like camber wear, but a lighter version of that. The problem directly depicts that the issue lies with the suspension system, and more often, it happens to be the ball joint.
How Far Can You Go with the Bad Ball Joints?
Well, it depends how badly the ball joints are injured or how much they have worn out. You should drive for 500 miles with no severe issue; however, you should measure the intensity of worn joints first. If you experience the overall frame to wander here and there, then it is not safe to continue driving.
Vehicles that make a squeaking sound can be driven to some miles. So, there are no fixed rules about the miles you can drive; you need to prove the presence of mind in this case.
The Overall Replacement Cost
Well, the overall costs depend state-wise; however, a rough estimate would be $220 to $300. It includes both the cost of the parts and labor. The tax is exempted from the estimation, so be prepared for that too. Also, the overall condition of the suspension system affects the cost too. Keep your car’s battery from self-discharging, read the Maintenance Tips here.
You should visit a few auto parts deliverers and confirm the pricing. Go with the one that seems to charge a fair price, but do not opt for a cheap alternative. The cost can be much higher if there are more parts damaged in the suspension system or anywhere else in your car. Only replace the faulty joints; you don’t have to go for all the joints at once if some of them are working fine.
How Often Do Ball Joints Need To Be Replaced?
There is no fixed rule on replacing the ball joints. However, every time you take your car for servicing or for an oil change (if you do not do it yourself) you can ask the repairer to make sure everything is good with the suspension. If you think you haven’t taken the car to a repairer for a long time, you should take it then and get the ball joints checked.
By regularly having a check on the car, you won’t notice these symptoms ever. And if you experience any of these things, then try to take your car for a repair as soon as possible.
Tip: It is always better to take precaution than to be sorry.
At last, it is not compulsory that all ball joints are meant to be replaced. Some joints lose their lubrication, and thus, these joints are serviceable. It would save you cost in the long run if every time you tell the repairer to do a servicing instead of the replacement if possible. By getting these joints lubricated again, so they do not allow external factors to enter while driving, they can be brought back to life.
We hope you now understand the bad ball joint symptoms and know what to do if this is the same case with you.