Interestingly, a car's ball joints work like the ball joints in human beings. They connect one part of the car body to the other and enable steering. In this case, a vehicle's rim and tire to the suspension system. These joints also allow the steering knuckle to connect to the control arm. They are hardened steel balls with a tapered stud that extrudes from the center that is encased in lubricated housings.
Ball joint replacements are not usually part of routine maintenance, and therefore not changed so often. However, the mechanic should check them with every service. If you have an old car model, you may need to lubricate them with every oil change.
Symptoms That You Need To Change the Ball Joints
Vibration and Shaking
When ball joints wear, they cause the vehicle to shake and vibrate as you drive. The reason is that they become loose and move about as you steer your car. You will feel vibrations through the steering wheel and in the chassis. Shaking makes driving rough and quite uncomfortable.
Clunking and Squeaking Noises
A clunking sound means that the ball joints are giving way. When in good working condition, they are protected from dirt by the greased housing. However, when the housing gets torn, grime and sand may get into the joint and make its movement rough. The joints may also make a popping sound if the ball wears out and moves inside the socket.
Problems Steering Your Vehicle
The suspension and steering systems are configured to ensure that the vehicle stays on a straight path even when the driver is not putting in any additional effort. In fact, most drivers release the steering wheel after making a complete turn for the vehicle to return to a dead center. However, if the ball joints are worn or misaligned, it takes great effort for the vehicle to remain on the dead center. This can be very dangerous as the driver may move away from their straight line and hit oncoming vehicles.
If you need a ball joint replacement, we invite you to bring your vehicle to our auto repair shop today!