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Q: Front end control arm or ball joint? Cost?

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Earlier today I was driving and the front end of my vehicle was making a creaking noise on the right side. Later in the evening, I pulled out of my driveway and the front end felt strange, like it wasn't bearing weight. I was driving under 25 and as I hit the stop sign, the car made a sudden stop and the front right end went down. Unfortunately, I don't know much about cars so my explanation may be very limited. After inspecting the car, it looked like the tire was holding the weight and sometching had detached from what looks like a ball joint on the tire. The tire had a small circle sticking out towards the center of the car. A large beam was laying flat against the pavement with a circular opening, which looks like it fit around the ball. I'm not sure what the damage is, if it's the control arm, ball joint, both or something completely different. I was hoping to get some clarification and possibly an idea what I'm looking at cost wise. Thank you, so much.

My car has 160000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

It sounds like your lower control arm ball joint came apart. The fact that it came out is an indication that there is a lot of wear in the front end. You may have also damaged other components like the brake hoses or a lower control arm. The spindle may also be damaged. I recommend having the vehicle’s suspension inspected by a mechanic before getting a quote for repairs, since there may be major damage that is not so obvious.

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