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Understanding the Maintenance, Repair and Replacement of Ball Joints

A ball joint is an important component of your car’s suspension, located on the front end of the vehicle. Ball joints will wear out over time and cause handling problems as they continue to deteriorate. It is important that you have these joints inspected, particularly if you are experiencing handling problems with your vehicle.

If you think that your ball joint may need to be replaced, there are some symptoms that you can check for. You may hear a knocking noise in the front end of your car when you drive over small bumps in the road. Or, your car’s alignment might be askew – if your vehicle naturally pulls hard to one side, it is most likely out of alignment. Uneven tire wear, a result of bad alignment, may also indicate that your ball joints are going bad. If you ignore bad alignment in your vehicle and continue to drive it, more problems can arise: damage can be done to a number of internal parts, including the tie rod.

It is best to have a qualified mechanic to determine if your car is properly aligned, and to see if your ball joints need replacing. There are many automobile repair shops that specialize in front-end repair, and these are often the best places to go for such diagnostics.

Depending on the year, make, and model of your vehicle, you may be able to extend the life of your ball joints by having them properly lubricated. Unfortunately, however, this is not an option with many newer cars – the entire ball joint must be replaced. The good news is that ball joints in newer cars, tend to last longer than those that were made for older models.

It is important to choose a reputable manufacturer when you buy a new ball joint. If you own a BMW, for example, parts from the manufacturer may cost more than you are willing to spend. As an alternative, you may want to consider an aftermarket manufacturer with a solid reputation. Buying through an aftermarket company can save you quite a bit of money when purchasing replacement parts.

Ignoring a bad ball joint can result in a truly dangerous situation, since it affects how well your car handles. Waiting until a ball joint fails may cause you to wreck your vehicle. Many drivers opt to have a professional mechanic install new ball joints. Following the replacement of the joint, your car will need to be realigned; many people find that it is easiest to have a mechanic do both. An alignment requires very specialized tools that the average do-it-yourself mechanic does not own. An alignment also requires a good deal of knowledge and training in order to be performed correctly.

As mentioned before, your car’s tie rod must often be replaced along with the ball joint. Since these parts work in conjunction, some mechanics recommend that you replace both at once.

No matter what kind of ball joint your car utilizes, whether a new or old model, it is important that you have these joints inspected each time your car is brought in for maintenance. Keeping these joints lubricated and well-maintained are essential in maintaining a safe degree of alignment in your vehicle.

by Quinton Becker

Quinton Becker writes about cars. If you need to replace the ball joints in your car, can help save you money. They sell auto parts for dozens of makes and models, including the hard-to-find BMW parts. Visit today to see their low prices and selection.

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