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Q: How long before a squeaky ball joint gives away?

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I JUST got my car out of the shop after $1,500 in repairs. I started hearing squeaking maybe around three days ago, at first only going over bumps or turns. Now it's pretty much the whole time I'm driving. I have no doubt it's coming from the suspension. My question is how long do I have before it gives way? The place I get my repairs is on the other side of town, past brick roads. Also in my town being without a vehicle basically means being without transportation, public transport has really weird hours. I'd need to get some things in order before taking it in and don't know whether to take it back to the dealership (I have a basic warranty) or just a local shop.

My car has 95783 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

How long it’s safe to drive the car with the noise you have described just depends on exactly what part(s) is causing the noise. Some noises, while annoying, are essentially meaningless in terms of vehicle reliability or safety. But, admittedly, if there is a noise you do have to get it checked out and, if it isn’t serious, then you can simply decide if it’s a priority fix or not. If you request a vehicle noise diagnostic, the responding certified mechanic will definitely find the origin of the noise. You did not indicate that a specific diagnostic was performed on the ball joint(s) so that might not be the problem area. There are many, many components in the suspension that could account for the noise, some are not expensive to repair and all can be repaired right at your location. Thus, I encourage you to seek out the diagnostic and then with the mechanic’s advice and explanation, you can decide how best to handle it. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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