The lower ball joint is what attaches the steering knuckle and control arm together. There are two pieces which make up the lower ball joint; a socket and ball. These pieces are inside of a rubber boot that is filled with lubricant. Basically, the lower ball joint allows the wheels and tires to be connected to the vehicle and its steering assembly. This is what enables you to make right turns or left turns with the steering wheel. It also enables the vehicle’s suspension system to travel over bumpy terrain without any setbacks.
Top 4 Symptoms of a bad Lower Ball Joint
The lower ball joint would probably seem like an insignificant part if looked at by itself because it is so small. However, it is a part that allows other parts of the suspension system to function properly. If the lower ball joint were to get worn out or break, then you would have a number of negative symptoms come up. Below are the top 4 symptoms that you could expect from a situation like this where the lower ball joint goes bad.
- Vibrations – When you have a bad lower ball joint, you will be able to feel vibrations in the steering wheel or from the left or right side of the vehicle. These vibrations are coming from the suspension system. If the lower ball joint is worn out, it will become loose which is why the vibrations occur. A loose ball joint will continue to vibrate as you drive your vehicle. Any kind of vibrations like this should be a clear sign that something is wrong and that you need to get your lower ball joint checked.
- Clunking Sounds – A symptom of a bad lower ball joint that people experience on a regular basis is clunking sounds. These sounds will come from the suspension of the vehicle. When there is a worn ball joint present that has loosened, it will start to rattle around and knock into the socket. This creates those clunking sounds that you’re hearing. You will hear these sounds even more when you’re driving on rough terrain or roads, especially a bumpy surface. If you don’t get the ball joint replaced soon, it will get louder and eventually break off completely.
- Tire Wear – One symptom of a bad lower ball joint that people don’t often consider is tire wear. If any of the interior or exterior edges of your tires have excessive or unusual amounts of wear, this is also a sign that your lower ball joint could be bad. This symptom may not be an immediate problem to fix, but you shouldn’t let it go for too long or it will become a big problem.
- Wandering Steering Wheel – Do you notice that your steering wheel is pulling too much toward either the left or right? If so, this is likely due to a bad lower ball joint because the wheels will become misaligned and then you’ll have to work harder to keep the steering wheel straight. Don’t let your steering wheel continue to wander like this for too long because the problem will only get worse in time. Get the ball joint replaced right away.
The Average Replacement Cost
The cost to replace the lower ball joint is anywhere from $220 to $290. The cost of the parts will only be around $90 to $120, while the labor costs will be from $130 to $170. There will be added fees and taxes applied to these prices as well. It is not an overly expense procedure to get done, but you should still shop around at various auto shops in your area to see which one will provide you with the cheapest hourly labor rates.