Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Ball Joint (Front)

Front Ball Joint

Bad or Failing Ball Joint (Front) Inspection

by a top-rated mechanic at your home or office

Transmission ball joints are an important suspension component found on virtually all modern vehicles. They are a spherical bearing in a socket, functioning similarly to the ball and socket design of a human hip, and serve as one of the main suspension pivot points connecting the control arms of the vehicle to the steering knuckles. The front ball joints allow the front wheels and suspension to move back and forth as well as up and down when the steering wheel is turned and the vehicle is traveling over the road. Usually, when front ball joints fail, the vehicle will display a few symptoms that alert the driver that a problem has occurred and should be serviced.

HAVE SYMPTOMS OF CAR TROUBLE?
Get an $80 diagnostic
by a top-rated mechanic at your home or office.

Get a quote · Book an Appointment · Our expert mechanics come to you.

1. Clunking noises coming from the front suspension

One of the most common symptoms of a problem with suspension ball joints is clunking noises coming from the vehicle’s front suspension. When ball joints wear out they become loose and will rattle and knock as the suspension travels up and down over the road. Worn ball joints may knock or clunk when traveling on rough roads, speed bumps, or when turning. Usually, the clunking will get continuously louder as the ball joints wear, or until they eventually completely fail and break.

2. Excessive vibration from the front of the vehicle

Another symptom of problematic ball joints is excessive vibration coming from the vehicle’s suspension. Worn ball joints will be loose in their sockets and vibrate excessively as the vehicle is in motion. The vibration will usually stem from the affected ball joint, either from the front or left sides of the vehicle. In some cases, the vibration may be felt through the steering wheel as well.

HAVE SYMPTOMS OF CAR TROUBLE?
Get your car fixed at your home or office.

Get a quote · Book an Appointment · Our expert mechanics come to you.

3. Steering wandering to the left or right

Another symptom of worn ball joints is what is known as wandering steering. Wandering steering is when the vehicle steering drifts from left to right on it’s own. When the ball joints are in good condition, and the vehicle is in proper alignment the steering wheel should stay mostly straight and is firm in response. Worn ball joints will cause the vehicle steering to wander to the left or right, which will require the driver to compensate for the issue.

Because ball joints are an important component of any vehicle’s suspension, when they begin to have problems or fail, the overall handling and ride characteristics of the vehicle may become compromised. For this reason, if you suspect that your vehicle’s ball joints have become severely worn or need to be replaced, have the vehicle’s suspension inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine what the best course of action may be. If necessary, they will be able to replace any failing ball joints for you.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Still not sure about your car's issue?
Diagnose your car
What kind of issue are you experiencing?
Brakes are squeaking
Car is not starting
Car is overheating
Car is shaking (vibrating)
Fluids are leaking
Heating and A/C
Smoke or steam is coming out of the car
Warning light is on
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Malaysia
CraigBurrows / Shutterstock.com Malaysia is a popular destination for many tourists today. The country has amazing sights and attractions that you will want to explore....
P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance Related Trouble Codes: P2158: Vehicle Speed Sensor B P2160: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Circuit Low P2161:...


Related questions

Q: Horn does not function when needing to warn vehicles

There may be a problem with the contacts of the horn switch inside the steering wheel. It could be corrosion or just a worn out switch. A technician must gain access to the switches and inspect the circuits for any...

Q: When replacing my ball joints on my 2005 dodge Strauss do I need to replace the control arms as well

Hi there. When changing out the ball joints, you don't need to change the control arms if you have a replacement ball joint. However, if you are wanting to replace the bushings and the ball joint, then you may get...

Q: What should I do if I lose control?

Losing control of your vehicle can be frightening to say the least. If your vehicle begins to skid, there are three types of skidding it could be: The “braking skid” in which the wheels will not be rolling The...