Ball Joints

What is a ball joint?

Ball joints are articulated connectors that are mounted at the end of the control arm (wishbone). The ball joints design allows pivot or hinge movement of the knuckle / wheel hub which allows your vehicle to steer correctly.

It is called a ball joint because the lower part of the joint is shaped like a ball which allows it to pivot when required.

What comes with a ball joint?

Ball joints are available with additional fitting parts depending on the brand of the part or the vehicle it is designed for. Generally speaking the parts that come with ball joints is either shown in the image of the part or listed in the parts details.

These can be:

  • Ball joint

  • Ball joint with mounting bolts/screws

Some control arms are pre-fitted or have integral ball joints as part of their design. As a result not all ball joints can be replaced. Some ball joints can only be replaced by changing the whole control arm.

How do I choose the correct ball joint?

There are several factors that will determine which ball joint is correct for your vehicle. Matching the vehicle manufacturers original part number with the replacement part is the best way to choose. If you are unable to obtain the original part number here are some things to note:

  • Fitting position (upper or lower)

  • Ball joint is listed to match a specific OE part number

  • Cone size measurement (this is the part that mounts to the knuckle or hub)

  • Ball joint is listed for the left or right side of vehicle

  • Vehicle manufacture date (this is not the date the vehicle was registered but the date it was made)

  • VIN (chassis number) sequence (up to or after as specific number/letter

What brand of ball joint should I choose?

There are a plethora of brands that manufacture suspension parts such as ball joints so it can be difficult to choose. Brands such as Bosch, Delphi and FAG offer parts of premium quality so these are popular. Other brands such as First Line, Borg & Beck, SKF and Apec also make high quality parts but at a lower price point but often with similar warranty periods. As a result these brands prove popular with buyers too. Which brand you choose is largely down to your budget and brand preference.

How can I tell my ball joint needs replacing?

Steering components are massively important to the safety of the vehicle. If you are having any issues with your steering system we would always recommend that you have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic.

Here are some symptoms of a failing ball joint:

  • Clunking noise on rough or uneven roads

  • Vibration while driving

  • Steering feels loose. Feels like it is wandering

  • Uneven tyre wear

  • Steering pulls to one side - tracking is out

  • Rubber boot is split (this would be an MOT failure)

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