Q: Worn ball joints causing excessive tire ware.

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Took my truck to the local Ford dealership to have an emission problem repaired. While in the shop I decided to have a tire rotation and alignment performed. I was told that the ball joints are worn out. My service representative recommended that I not have the alignment performed as it would be out of tolerance again within a week. Addintionally, he advised against replacing the ball joints reasoning that this repair would need to be done again in a couple of years, and given the expense of the repair, compared to the cost of new tires, would not payout. Needless to say, I left the dealership without having the ball joints repaired and puzzled about alignments, tire ware and buying a new set of tires.

My question to you is: how long should I expect repaired ball joints to last on my truck. 99% highway/ paved road driving, lite loads, conservative driving habits.

My car has 155000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

There really is no rule of thumb on how long ball joints will last, there are just too many factors that go into the wear of them. The design of the system, the driving conditions, how much heavy hauling/towing is performed, and the quality of the parts installed will all be a factor. I have seen ball joints fail at 40,000 miles, and I have seen them last 200,000 miles. There are just too many variables to say how long yours will last. I will say that if longevity and reliability are the major factors, I would suggest using the best heavy duty ball joints that you can afford. This is one of those areas that you will typically get what you pay for. If you feel you could use some help in diagnosing/repairing the problem, contact a certified mechanic, like the mobile mechanics at YourMechanic.com.

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