How to Lube Your Car's Steering and Suspension Parts

Steering and suspension components are vital to your driving experience. They are responsible for your ride comfort, directional stability, and also influence tire wear. Worn, loose, or misadjusted steering and suspension components can also shorten the life of your tires. Worn tires will affect fuel mileage as well as your vehicle’s grip on the road in all sorts of conditions.

Tie rod ends, ball joints, and center links are just a few of the typical steering and suspension components that require regular inspections and maintenance. Tie rods connect the left and right wheels to the steering mechanism while ball joints allow your wheels to turn freely and remain as close to vertical as possible in their movement up and down over the road surface.

While many vehicles on the road today have “sealed” components that require no lubrication but still require periodic inspections for damage or wear, many vehicles do have “serviceable” components, which means that they require regular servicing in the form of lubrication. Lubing your steering and suspension components is fairly easy. This article will show you how to lube the steering and suspension components correctly.

Part 1 of 3: Lift your vehicle

Materials Needed

  • Creeper
  • Floor jack
  • Grease cartridge
  • Grease Gun
  • Jack stands
  • Rags
  • Vehicle owner's manual
  • Wheel chocks

  • Note: Be sure to use a floor jack with the appropriate weight capacity to lift your vehicle. Be sure the jack stands are of the appropriate capacity as well. If you are unsure of your vehicle’s weight, check the VIN label which is usually located on the inside of the driver’s door or on the door jamb itself for your vehicle’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).

  • Tip: If you don’t have a creeper, use a piece of wood or cardboard so that you don’t need to lie on the ground.

Step 1: Locate your vehicle’s jacking points. With most vehicles being low to the ground and having large trays or belly pans under the front of the car, it is best to do one side at a time.

Jack the vehicle up at the recommended jacking points instead of trying to raise it by sliding the jack under the front of the car.

  • Note: Some vehicles have a clear marker or cut out under the sides of the car located near each wheel to indicate the proper jacking point. If your vehicle does not have these indications, consult your owner's manual for the proper jack point locations.

Step 2: Secure the wheel. Position the wheel chocks or blocks, in front of and behind at least one or both rear wheels.

Raise the car slowly until the tire just loses contact with the ground.

Once you get to that point, find the lowest point underneath the car at which to place a jack stand.

typical floor jack and jack stand placement

  • Note: Be sure to place each jack stand in a strong spot such as under a cross-member or chassis to support the car. Once positioned, slowly lower the car onto the jack stand using the floor jack. Do not fully lower the jack and keep it in the extended position.

Part 2 of 3: Lubricate the steering and suspension components

Step 1: Access the components below your car. Using your creeper or cardboard, slide yourself under the car while keeping your rag and grease gun handy.

The serviceable components such as tie rods, ball joints, will have a grease fitting on them. Look around the steering and suspension assemblies to make sure you spot all of them.

typical lower ball joint

Typically, on each side, you will have: 1 upper and 1 lower ball joint as well as an outer tie rod end. Towards the middle of the car from the driver's side, you may also find a pitman arm connected to the steering box and center link (if so equipped) which connects the left and right tie rods together. You may also find an idler arm on the passenger side, which supports the center link on that side. You should be able to easily reach the driver's side center link grease fitting while servicing the driver’s side.

  • Note: Due to the offset design of some wheels, you may not be able to get the grease gun onto the upper and/or lower ball joint grease fittings easily without first removing the wheel and tire assembly. If that’s the case, follow instructions in your owner's manual for proper wheel removal and reinstallation.

lubricating these grease fittings

Step 2: Fill the components with grease. Each of these components may have a rubber boot around them. Once you connect the grease gun to them and pull the trigger to fill them with grease, keep an eye on those boots. Ensure that you do not fill them with grease to the point that they may burst loose.

Some components however, are designed to allow some grease to escape when full. If you see that occur, that’s the indication that the component is full.

Generally it just takes a couple of good squeezes of the grease gun trigger to put as much grease in each component as needed. Repeat that process with each component.

Step 3: Remove excess grease. Once you have lubed each component, wipe off any excess grease that may have come out.

Now you can raise the car back onto the jack, remove the jack stand, and and lower it back onto the ground.

Follow the same process and precautions for lifting and lubricating the other side.

Part 3 of 3: Lubricate the rear suspension components (If applicable)

independent rear suspension

Not all cars have rear suspension components that require routine lubrication. Typically, a car with independent rear suspension may have these components, but not all. Check with your local auto parts professionals or use online sources to see if your car has serviceable rear components before you jack up the rear of your car needlessly. If your car has these rear components, follow the same directions and precautions as for the front suspension when lifting and supporting the vehicle before you lubricate any rear suspension components.

If you are not comfortable with performing this process on your own, get a certified professional, such as one from YourMechanic, to lubricate the steering and suspension.


Next Step

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Recent Lubricate Steering and Suspension reviews

Excellent Rating

(38)

Rating Summary
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Robert

22 years of experience
201 reviews
Robert
22 years of experience
Jeep Grand Cherokee V8-5.7L - Lubricate Steering and Suspension - Fort Worth, Texas
Robert did another great job with a new vehicle that I added to my garage. He performed a full 50-point inspection of the vehicle and checked all of the potential wear-and-tear areas under and around the vehicle, including tires, brakes, joints, and seals. Robert has a lot of experience with all types of cars and will always help you learn more about your vehicle and how to keep it well-maintained.
Audi A4 - Lubricate Steering and Suspension - Flower Mound, Texas
Great service! Highly recommended.

Edgar

8 years of experience
178 reviews
Edgar
8 years of experience
Volvo XC90 L6-3.2L - Lubricate Steering and Suspension - Austin, Texas
Always Professional and earned my trust before and did again.. Would Recommend Edgar without hesitation.

Stephen

25 years of experience
43 reviews
Stephen
25 years of experience
BMW 745Li V8-4.4L - Lubricate Steering and Suspension - Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Mr. Moton is a kind & respectful man, punctual, and knowledgeable of all makes & models of vehicles. He is also a distinguished U.S. military veteran. This was our second vehicle service from YourMechanic. Mr. Moton performed an oil change (including oil filter & 3 o-rings), engine coolant temperature sensor replacement, & trunk/steering/etc. lubrication on our BMW 7-series vehicle...the tasks were performed properly and in a timely manner. 'YourMechanic' is a convenient service as the mechanics come to you (home or designated place) to repair your vehicle and the cost of parts, labor, etc. is less than what a dealership, independent repair shop, etc. would charge for the same services + you interact directly with the mechanic performing all work on your vehicle vice a 'go-between' salesperson, 'service representative', 'service manger', etc...who are not the actual mechanics. Dealerships and other repair shops have overhead expenses, such as real estate/rent, utilities (electric, water, gas, etc.), additional employees (managers, sales/service representatives, etc.), parts inventory, heavy/light equipment, tools, etc. and those costs are passed on to the consumer just to keep their operations afloat. The 'YourMechanic' business model removes many of those additional business expenses into a simple online scheduling & service system + the local mechanics, which = lower costs for the consumer and a more personalized/convenient 'house call' vehicle service. Hope this helps...thank you.

Milton

37 years of experience
239 reviews
Milton
37 years of experience
Ford F-150 V6-4.2L - Lubricate Steering and Suspension - Indian Springs, Nevada
Milton was on time, prepared, and exceptional with great skills. He quickly diagnosed my truck's problem and extended valuable information. Thanks very much Milton! I highly recommend Milton and will refer him to ALL my family, friends, and neighbors.

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