What is lubricating the ball joints all about?
Good suspension allows the wheels to move over bumps and potholes smoothly while making the car experience a very small amount of the jolt. In order for the wheels to move freely of the vehicle’s body, joints connect parts together while allowing them to move around. On parts that need to move in multiple directions at the same time, ball joints are the only solution.
Keep in mind:
- To access the ball joint, wheels and brake components will usually have to be removed.
- When lubricating the ball joint, the steering knuckle and other suspension components can be inspected for excess wear.
- If a ball joint is covered in a rubber boot, the mechanic will make sure that the boot is still protecting the joint from dirt and debris.
How it's done:
- The vehicle is raised and supported on jack stands
- The ball joints on the suspension system is located
- The Zerk grease fittings on the ball joints are located
- New grease is pumped into the grease fittings with a grease gun
- The vehicle is lowered off of the jack stands
The ball joints should be lubricated when the manufacturer suggests. This information can usually be found in a vehicle’s manual. The lubricant may wear away prematurely if the joint is not properly protected. Servicing the ball joints usually requires the removal of the wheels and brakes. This allows access to other components that usually aren’t as easily serviceable. Other joints aside from the ball joint may need lubrication. Parts may be showing excess wear. The steering knuckle and control arm should be inspected as well. There are many kinds of suspension and steering components that a vehicle could have, so consult the vehicle’s manual for any model-specific repairs or services that may need to be done.
What are the common symptoms indicating you need to lubricate the ball joints?
- Loud squeaking or groaning when the suspension moves or when steering
- Steering or suspension seems to operate less smoothly
How important is this service?
This service is fairly important and affects crucial components in the vehicle. Proper lubrication of components is a staple of preventative maintenance. Ball joints have to be completely replaced when they become too worn, and wear happens much faster without proper lubrication.