Jul
01

Do You Need to Replace Your Car’s Ball Joints?

Author // NPR Car Talk
Posted in // Brake rotors, Brake rotors replacement, New york auto parts

Reconditioned car radiators

Did you know that, according to HowStuffWorks.com, the average American family spends close to $2,000 a year to keep their vehicles in running condition? While it’s true that many of those costs are unavoidable, from gasoline to inspections and registrations, the fact is that the single biggest cost any car owner has to deal with is that for maintenance and repairs.

Even if you’re able to buy discount auto parts online, taking your vehicle to a mechanic will generally end up with you having to deal with a considerable bill. However, if you learn to repair and maintain your own vehicle, you can remove one of the biggest considerations from your annual auto-budget. By learning how to replace ball joints, for example, you can save big money.

Do You Really Need to Replace Your Ball Joints?
First things first: you need to first diagnose your vehicle and discover whether you need to actually replace your ball joints. As eBay writes, there are some definite signs that your ball joints are past their prime. From uneven tire wear to a loud popping noise when you drive to a vehicle that doesn’t turn like it should, these are all dead giveaways it’s time to change your ball joints.

Even so, you need to check to make sure the problem isn’t something else. Jack your vehicle up and place it on a jack stand. (Note: you should never leave your vehicle on just a jack.) Once you have the vehicle suspended, check each tire by pulling it from side to side and front to back. If the wheel only moves side to side, you’re good. If it also moves front to back, it’s time to replace your ball joints.

How to Replace Ball Joints at Home

  1. Jack the end of the vehicle you need to be working on up, and place it on jack stands fit for your vehicle.
  2. As About.com suggests, you should next clean all of the gunk off the ball joint area and apply WD-40 to loosen any nuts and bolts, thereby ensuring you have an easier time of it.
  3. Using a hammer and a socket wrench, remove the nuts and bolts from the ball joint assembly and knock the ball joint from the tapered hole.
  4. Clean the area you removed the ball joint from and replace your new ball joint. After fitting the joint into the tapered hole, replace the nuts and bolts.
  5. Repeat the process if you have both an upper and a lower ball joint.
  6. Reassemble everything, lower your vehicle gently off your jack and jack stands, and drive on your merry way.
  7. Do you think it’s a good idea for people to learn how to replace ball joints at home? Let us know why or why not in the comments below!

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