GMC Vandura 1500 Lower Ball Joint Replacement Cost
How Much Does a Ball Joint Replacement - Lower Cost?
Ball Joint Replacement - Lower Service and Cost
Ball joints link the steering knuckle (which supports the wheel hub, bearing, and wheel) to the lower and upper control arms. They allow the suspension to move freely up and down and aid in the steering of the vehicle.
The ball joint is made up of a ball and socket that is encased in a lubricant-filled rubber boot. The ball joint is connected to the steering knuckle that houses the wheel hub and bearing (this is what the wheel is bolted to), and the control arm, allowing the suspension to travel up and down over bumps, and to turn left and right for steering. The ball joint is also the smallest part that connects the wheel and tire to the vehicle.
A vehicle with a ball joint that is beginning to wear out can be driven, but as the wear increases, so do the chances of premature tire wear and poor vehicle handling. If you suspect that a ball joint is beginning to wear, have a technician evaluate the problem as soon as possible. A vehicle with a significantly worn ball joint should not be driven. The ball joint is a small part of the suspension and consists of a simple ball and socket. If the ball joint fails completely, it is possible for the control arm to detach from the steering knuckle and cause serious damage or injury.
There is no set replacement schedule for ball joints, through most vehicles will need to have them changed at some point. Most ball joints will last for 100k miles or more. Rough driving habits may shorten the life of these parts. If the ball joints are showing signs of leaking or wear, they should be replaced.
Ball Joint Replacement - Lower Repair Information
A worn ball joint is diagnosed by first raising the vehicle in the air on a hoist (or on a jack and jack stands). The technician will grasp the tire at the top and bottom and rock the wheel back and forth. A worn ball joint will present a clunking sound or feeling when this test is performed. The technician will also inspect for a torn or leaking boot on the ball joint. Sometimes a technician will notice a worn or leaking boot on the ball joint during an inspection or a related repair. A worn ball joint may be suspected if the tires are showing signs of unusual wear on the inside or outside edges.
To replace a ball joint, a technician will raise the vehicle in the air on a hoist (or jack and jack stands) and remove the front wheel in order to access the ball joint. The ball joint is disconnected from the lower or upper control arm and the steering knuckle (by removing the fasteners and using a ball joint separator, or "pickle fork"), the suspension is separated to allow the ball joint to come free, and the new part is installed. Some vehicles require that the steering knuckle be disconnected from the strut in order to get to the retaining nut on one side of the ball joint. Tension between components in the suspension may make separation difficult.
RepairPal recommends getting a four-wheel alignment after the ball joint has been replaced. If the tires show signs of significant wear, new tires would also be recommended.
The front suspension components often have a good deal of tension between them. This could make separating the steering knuckle and the control arm from the ball joint difficult and care should be exercised during ball joint replacement. A ball joint with tapered studs is sometimes difficult to remove from its mounts in the steering knuckle or control arm. Also, the vehicle needs to be safely raised and supported in order to complete this repair.
On most vehicles, replacement of a ball joint is an intermediate DIY repair. Care needs to be exercised when lifting and supporting the vehicle to prevent serious injury. This repair usually requires a ball joint separator (or "pickle fork") used to separate the tapered shaft of the ball joint from its mount in the control arm and/or the steering knuckle. The tension between components in the suspension often makes it difficult to separate the knuckle or control arm from the ball joint. If you are not comfortable with lifting a vehicle, or with working on parts under tension, refer the repair to a professional technician.