Ball joints of a car can be compared to the hip joint in the human body. These joints are an essential component of your vehicle’s front suspension. They provide the pivoting movement between the steering knuckles and control arms.
As a component of your car’s suspension, the ball joints are a primary mechanism involved in allowing your car’s wheels to navigate the road without losing control.
The ball joints are made up of a metal housing and a stud with an internal bearing made of metal or plastic. The ball joints are a durable part of your vehicle that is made to withstand a significant degree of external threats and pressure. However, ball joints are not immune to damage or natural wear and tear. A damaged ball joint can pose harmful risks to both you and other drivers, and it is wise to be aware of the most common problems that result in ball joint failure.
Frequently driving your vehicle can cause any component to degrade over time. To be prepared for this potential cause it is recommended you check your vehicle’s owner’s manual. With this resource, you’ll be able to determine how long the car’s ball joints are expected to last. In general, they can range from 70,000 to 150,000 miles of driving. When that time approaches, we recommend you schedule an inspection with a local mechanic to ensure the ball joints are in proper working order.
A ball joint is covered with tight seals to hold the components of the joint in place. Over time, these seals can potentially crack and deteriorate, resulting in both debris and dirt to get inside or grease to escape, leading to a lack of lubrication. The debris and dirt can cause the ball joint to wear out far more quickly than it normally would under typical use, and a lack of grease will cause increased friction while operating.
Healthy ball joints in proper working condition will not wiggle or jolt. When misaligned, the ball joints can undergo significant degradation under repeated use and pressure.
There are several signs that may indicate your vehicle’s ball joints are compromised. The primary and most noticeable of these is clucking noises coming from the front suspension. A worn-out ball joint will become loose in its socket, resulting in a rattling and knocking as the suspension travels over a road.
If you hear a clicking noise, especially when traveling on rougher roads, speed bumps, or turning your vehicle, you likely need to check your car’s ball joints. Similarly, you will notice excessive vibrations coming from your vehicle’s suspension when driving with damaged or worn out ball joints. These vibrations will be most noticeable on whichever side has the affected ball joint.
Another symptom that is present when driving with a damaged ball joint is wandering steering, which is when a vehicle drifts from left to right on its own. Because ball joints are a critical component of your vehicle’s suspension, you’ll also notice a decrease in your car’s overall performance in its ride characteristics.
While it’s likely you’ll be able to grease the ball joints yourself if they aren’t properly lubricated, any problem more serious should be taken to a professional mechanic. Ball joints are a critical part of your vehicle, and a failure of your car’s ball joints can lead to a loss of vehicle control and damage to the entire suspension system of your vehicle.
At Ultimate Bimmer Service, we take the craftsmanship of your BMW seriously. We’ve chosen to work on BMWs exclusively. Our mechanics are factory-trained, BMW Level 1 master-certified technicians who offer more than 30 years of combined BMW specific service and repair.
We only use genuine original BMW parts and accessories or high-quality OEM parts from local suppliers to ensure your BMW drives just the way the manufacturer intended. Servicing the Carrolton and Dallas, TX area, we offer guaranteed service appointments (even on Saturday) and convenient after-hours times to get the repair you need, when you need it. Call us today.