If you notice wandering or erratic steering, or uneven tire wear, these are indications that you have a worn out ball joint. And this problem should not be ignored if you don't want to compromise your ride comfort. This joint is such an important suspension component because it supports the vehicle's weight. It also serves as the pivot point between the tires and the suspension. If it isn't possible for the suspension to conduct this pivoting motion, it would also be impossible for you to steer your car. Much like human body's hip joint, this automotive joint allows free movement in the vehicle's suspension.
In most cases, ball joints come with lubricated fittings. They contain grease and are protected by flexible rubber dust boot. When it lacks lubrication, these joints can crack and can become noisy. If you notice cracks on this suspension component or once it becomes loose, replacement will be necessary. It's good thing that replacing such part is a task that can be done even by an average DIYer. All you need is to complete the parts and tools plus step by step guide on how to get the task done well. Among the tools you might need to accomplish such job are ball joint separator, ball peen hammer, socket and ratchet set, and jack stand set. You will also require a standard wrench set and 1/2 in. drive torque wrench.
Remember to wear safety glasses before you start working on your ride's suspension and the ball joint, in particular. If necessary, wear other personal protective equipment like latex gloves and closed toe shoes. To start off, park you ride on a level surface so it won't lean or roll when you jack it up. Loosen up the front wheel lug nuts. Lift up the front of your ride using a floor jack. To ensure safety, secure your ride with jack stands on both sides. Take off the front wheels by detaching the lug nuts that hold them in place. Use a floor jack to support the vehicle's lower control arm and remove the cotter pin from the retaining nut. With the help of a separator, disconnect the joint from the knuckle.
Next, use a special tool to press the defective lower ball joint out of the lower control arm. You should do the same thing when removing joint from the upper control arm. Put in the replacement joint into the control arm and install the steering knuckle back on the assembly. Torque the castle nut, based on the recommendations of your ride's manufacturer. Put in a new cotter pin and reinstall the wheels. Then torque the lug nuts based on the manufacturer's specifications.
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