Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Ball Joint (Rear)

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Ball Joint (Rear)

Ball joint Rear

Ball joints are the suspension component that connect the vehicle control arms to the wheel hub. They are a spherical bearing with a stud encased in a metal sleeve or socket, and serve as the main pivot point between the vehicle’s suspension and the wheels. Because they essentially bear the entire weight of the vehicle, they are subject to high stress conditions and will eventually wear out. When they wear out, rear ball joints in particular will produce a set of symptoms that can notify the driver of a potential problem that should be serviced.

1. Clunking noise coming from rear suspension of the vehicle

One of the most common symptoms associated with excessively worn rear ball joints is a clunking noise coming from the affected ball joint. When a ball joint begins to wear out, it will become loose in its socket and clunk or rattle when force is placed upon it. The clunk will continue to get louder as the ball joint wears until it eventually fails.

2. Wandering steering

Another symptom of a bad or failing rear ball joints is wandering steering. Loose ball joints can cause the vehicle’s steering to randomly drift towards the left or right. This will become most apparent at higher speeds, such as when driving on the highway. Vibrations that coincide with the wandering steering may also be felt, depending on how worn the ball joint is.

3. Irregular tire wear

Another common symptom associated with worn rear ball joints is irregular tire wear of the rear wheels. The excessive suspension play caused by excessively worn rear ball joints will cause the outer edges of the tires to wear unevenly and at an accelerated rate. The excessive play may also place additional stress on other suspension components, which may cause them to wear at an accelerated rate as well.

Rear ball joints are essentially the main rear pivot point between the wheel and the suspension, and are very important to the vehicle’s overall ride and handling characteristics. When they fail, they can cause problems and place additional stress on other suspension joints and components. For this reason, if you suspect that your ball joints are worn or may need to be replaced, have the vehicle’s suspension inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic. They will be able to determine if the car needs its rear ball joints replaced, or if another issue needs to be addressed.

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

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.


More related articles

P0121 OBD-II Trouble Code: TPS "A" Circuit Range Performance Problem
P0121 code definition Throttle Pedal Position Sensor/Switch (TPS) A Circuit Range Performance Problem...
P0222 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input
P0222 code definition Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input What the P0222...
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...

Related questions

Q: Top of steering shaft inside wheel sounds dry when turning how do you fix it?

It sounds like your steering clock spring in the column for the air bag and steering wheel controls is binding or getting ready to break. I recommend having the steering wheel inspected by a mechanic who can verify the problem...

Q: Banging sound at slow speed at left rear wheel well area

Hi there. Raise up the vehicle and check all of the suspension, sway bar, ball joints, and the shock absorbers. Makes sure that everything is tight. If everything is tight, lower the vehicle and do a bounce test on the...

Q: Q: Steering wheel noise

Hi there. This comes up quite often on this vehicle. It is caused by a failing column adjusting motor. As the motor and gears start to fail the become stripped and make this noise. They will typically work for a...