Ball joints are an indispensable part of the vehicle suspension system. They are responsible for keeping your driving experience smooth and comfortable. Read on to learn the basics of ball joints and what signs they may display when they go bad.
Similar to a ball-in-socket joint that connects your leg to your hip bone, a car’s ball joint is similar. It is the connecting point between the wheels and tires and the suspension system that is housed inside a metal casing that is filled with lubricant. They help turn your wheels whenever you twist and turn your steering wheel.
Signs of Worn Ball Joints
Ball joints typically last a very long time, up to the life of the vehicle in fact. However, damage and wear and tear can cause them to stop working prematurely. If you regularly operate your automobile on rough terrains, your car is at a higher risk of ball joint damage. Below are some of the major signs that indicate something is wrong with your car’s ball joints:
- Clunking noises - When the ball joint rattles, particularly when driving over road bumps, it is clear that something is wrong with your suspension. You should have it checked out ASAP.
- Squeaking sounds - When the part that holds the grease to lubricate the ball joint breaks, it will leak fluid. As a result, your vehicle may squeak due to the loss of lubrication.
- Vibrations - Another common problem with ball joints is shakiness or vibrations. When the ball joints are loose, you may feel a vibration up through your steering wheel and sometimes to the rest of the car. If you notice other steering problems, please stop driving and get your car to a repair shop immediately.
- Inability to drive straight - A loose ball joint gone unnoticed can ultimately affect your vehicle’s alignment, which will cause your car to veer left or right when attempting to drive straight.
- Uneven tire wear - When your ball joints are bad, and alignment is off, you may notice inconsistent tire tread patterns.
Bad ball joints aren’t just a nuisance, but they can compromise your vehicle’s steering ability, wheel alignment, and put you at risk of an accident. If you’re experiencing any of the signs mentioned above, please come by Carmasters Automotive soon.