An important part of your car’s suspension system is its ball joints. Made of extra tough steel, ball joints act as the pivot point between two parts: the suspension and your car’s tires. This part help support your car’s weight and, as is the case with some vehicles, they may be used to help set the alignment. Let’s take a closer look at this key component of your car’s suspension system.
Enclosed in a steel housing, joints are used on the front end of almost every car, truck, SUV, and minivan. As might be expected, this important component is subject to a lot of wear and tear, so to properly protect them they are housed in an enclosed boot to keep dirt away from the joint assembly.
There are two types of suspension systems that use ball joints. The first is a conventional system that uses an upper and lower joint. The second is called a MacPherson strut system that uses a single lower joint and an upper strut bearing. No upper joint is needed as the upper strut bearing does the job instead.
Maintenance for this component has changed over the years for most cars. Many vehicles come equipped with joints that are permanently lubed, so lubrication is not necessary nor is it even possible as the pack that holds the lubrication is permanently sealed. When they wear out or are damaged, you can find replacement parts that come with lubrication fittings; in this case you would need to lubricate your new units on a regular basis as in when you change your vehicle’s oil.
When performing an inspection of your car’s suspension, your ball joints should be looked at too. Have a complete wheel alignment performed and make certain that they are not worn. If they wear out and are not changed, you will soon experience uneven tire wear or unreliable steering, such as wandering. Clearly, worn out parts are a safety issue that must be tended to and fixed immediately.
These parts are developed for the specific make/model of your vehicle. Many models share the same suspension system as other models within the brand, but to be sure check your vehicle’s repair manual for the right replacement parts. Certain manufacturers, such as Moog, develop parts for many makes/models and can be used by mechanics that prefer this particular product. Check online to find out more information about Moog parts and whether they are right for your car.
Remember: ball joints are an important part of your vehicle’s suspension system. Annual check ups of the suspension can head off costly problems which can also impact your safety.