Signs Your Vehicle Needs New Ball Joints

Did you know that ball joints are wearable parts of your vehicle's suspension. "Wearable" parts means they're expected to eventually wear out and need to be replaced. Below, we'll go over some symptoms that your vehicle might present when in need of new ball joints. These are also closely related to similar parts like tie rod ends which can have similar symptoms, so be sure to get the help of one of our experts at the Capitol Chevy service center if you suspect your vehicle is in need of service for the suspension.

This is a ball joint, and a protective rubber boot that shields it from dirt and dust 

4. Ball Joint Wear Indicators Have Worn Down

Isn't it great how parts in the automotive world tend to be named after what they do? Ball joint wear indicators, for example, indicate wear. Trouble is, since they're suspension components, these wear indicators are quite subtle and typically require a trained eye to spot. So this one doesn't really help the average car owner. But, if your vehicle gets an inspection from a trained technician, they can spot ball joints that need to be replaced by looking at these indicators. That said, not all vehicles are equipped with ball joint wear indicators.

 
Ball joints mount to control arms as part of your vehicle's steering system 

3. Squeaking, Clunking Or Grinding Noises When Steering

What begins as a faint, intermittent clicking noise when going over bumps or around corners will slowly get louder over time, until it's a clunking noise that you simply can't ignore. That's often the first sign of ball joints that need to be replaced. However, don't go by noise alone. Other suspension parts like tie rods and CV axle joints can make similar noises. In any case, it's smart to get clicking noises coming from the vehicle's undercarriage checked out by a professional right away. It's often easier and more affordable to fix minor issues before they develop into major problems.

2. Loose Steering

The clicking noise you may hear as your vehicle's ball joints wear out means that the suspension is coming slightly loose. This can also lead to a loose, vague feel in the steering wheel. And if you can feel your steering wheel vibrating excessively on a flat, straight road, that could point to suspension system trouble, including worn ball joints.

The integrity of your vehicle's suspension will affect ride quality, tire wear and much more 

1. Rapid Tire Wear

The ball joints are a key part of your vehicle's steering and suspension system. As it wears, it won't be as able to keep your tires flat and level. The result of this is often rapid, uneven tire wear on one side of your tires. If you find that the inside or outside edge of your tires are going bald fast, chances are you'll be in need of new ball joints or other suspension maintenance.