A senior biology student would surely know what joints are. These are the points of connection between two bones or two elements of the skeletal system. Joints, however, does not only belong to the world of biology students or experts. In fact, they are also one of the concerns of automotive engineers and mechanics. In your Dodge, for example, there are many types of joints that connect components together. Among these joints are the Dodge ball joints.
The Dodge ball joint is a component of your Dodge's suspension system. Basically, it is a flexible coupling in a ball-and-socket construction that connects the control arm to the steering knuckle. Practically, all passenger vehicles and light trucks are equipped with one or two ball joints. Dodge vehicles that are still using the conventional suspension system are equipped with two ball joints: the upper ball joint and the lower ball joint. Vehicles with McPherson strut suspension systems, on the other hand, only has the lower ball joint because the upper support used is a strut bearing.
The primary function of Dodge ball joints is to serve as pivot points between your vehicle's tires and suspension. Aside from that, however, the ball joints also support the vehicle's weight. Due to their flexibility, these components are also able to compensate for the changes in the wheel and steering whenever the vehicle turns or when it hits a bump on the road. In some vehicles, the ball joints may even be used to adjust the wheel alignment settings.
Based on check-up and maintenance needs, ball joints may be classified into two: the ordinary ball joints and the "lubed up" or "lubed for life" ball joints. Ordinary ball joints would generally require lubrication once in every six months, although it is recommended that they be lubricated at every oil change. "Lubed for life" ball joints, on the other hand, would not require any lubrication. Don't be confused by the name, however, because "lubed for life" does not necessarily mean that these joints would last the lifetime of your Dodge. Instead, the name simply means that they can't be lubricated for as long as they are usable.
"Lubed for life" or not, ball joints are not meant to last forever. And once these components start to wear or deteriorate, you'll start hearing a lot of noise coming from the suspension. Other symptoms include wheel misalignment, uneven tire wear, and erratic steering. Once you notice these symptoms, then it may be the proper time to order a replacement Dodge ball joint from Parts Train and have the original replaced by a professional mechanic.