Q: When replacing ball joints can you just replace the ball joints or do you need to just replace the control arm?

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I live in MA and was told I need new ball joints to pass inspection but they would have to replace the whole control arm because they can't just replace the ball joints.

My car has 68000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Suspension components on modern vehicles are not as heavy as they used to be. Components like control arms can be lighter and thinner. Ball joints are riveted or pressed into control arms. Sometimes bolted/screwed. Since replacing a ball joint will usually involve removing the control arm from the vehicle to either press or drill rivets out - which is more labor intensive, it can be a time and money saver labor wise to simply replace the entire control arm.

You are removing the old control arm and replacing it with a new one, complete with new ball joint and control arm bushings. Even if the control arm bushings are in good shape at the time the ball joint is replaced, they will eventually require replacement. You then have parts and labor involved again to remove the control arm, replace the bushings, then reinstall it on the vehicle.

Sometimes the ball joint replacement can be more cost effective in the long run, to simply replace the entire control arm. If you’d like to have this done, consider YourMechanic, as one of our mobile technicians can come to your home or office to service your ball joints.

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