A Quick Guide to Replacing Ball Joints on Your Car

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Ball joints are critical to your car’s steering and suspension systems, so if they start to go, you may need to know how to replace ball joints so you can keep driving without a hitch. Obviously you can take your car to a mechanic who knows how to replace ball joints, but you can also do it yourself.

Before we get into how to replace ball joints, make sure you have all the parts you need to get started. You can find many discount auto parts online if you’re trying to cut costs.

Once you have the parts you need, evaluate the job ahead of you. If your ball joints have become pressed in, you’ll probably need a mechanic to remove the lower control arm with a hydraulic press.

If you joints aren’t pressed in, start by moving the tires and brakes out of the way as necessary. Be careful not to damage the brake lines or put unnecessary pressure on them. Clear dirt and grease away from the ball joints and spray WD-40 on all nuts and bolts. Let the WD-40 soak in for about 15 minutes before removing the top four bolts with a socket wrench. Once you remove the slotted nut and cotter pin, you should be able to get the ball joint out.

Clean the upper control arm and hole of the hub where you removed the ball joint before placing the new part. Install the new upper ball joint before you install the lower one. Tighten the piece in place, put the four nuts and bolts back, and tighten the cotter pin to finish the upper ball joint.

When working on the lower ball joint, bend the new part sideways and twist it 90 degrees to drop it into the lower hub hole under the lower control arm. Put all nuts and bolts back in place then tighten them to finish the job.

Make sure to greese ball joints well, then put brakes back into place. After you replace the tires, you should check the tire alignment to make sure everything’s in working order.

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