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Complete ball joint failure is rare, but it does happen. A more common problem is wear and tear on the joint from continual driving over uneven and bumpy road surfaces. A worn ball joint can significantly affect your suspension and steering, and these can have a range of knock-on effects that can affect your vehicle, your driving, and potentially your safety. Should the joint fail completely, then the results can be catastrophic, including the wheel quite literally falling off your vehicle. The best way to avoid this is to replace the ball joint as soon as you notice the effects of wear. While the ball joint is relatively easy to replace, the problem is finding the right ball joint for your vehicle. Our panel of automotive experts is here to help. They have compiled a list of the eight best ball joints to point you in the right direction.
The Best Ball Joint
The Moog K80026 Ball Joint is engineered from a steel composition that ensures a stronger component. It is designed to improve chassis durability and performance and includes an oversized housing that provides a more secure fit. Its greaseable socket design reduces wear and corrosion by allowing contaminants to be flushed from the assembly by new lubricants. The Moog Ball Joint includes a full ball metal stud that gives 360 degrees of consistent, smooth rotational movement that results in more responsive steering. The powdered metal gusher bearing design reduces friction and provides enhanced stability and strength by enabling grease to flow through the bearing to the stud.
Powdered metal gusher bearing design
Full ball metal stud
Greaseable socket design
Strong, durable, and improves performance
- BrandMOOG Chassis Products
- Weight1.4 pounds
The ACDelco Advantage Front Lower Suspension Ball Joint Assembly provides a cost-effective replacement for GM and non-GM vehicle components. The assembly features a one-piece housing and a polyurethane dust boot. The forged housing ensures durability, while the forged, machined shell ensures the strength of the replacement part. The ball joint assembly is manufactured at an ISO 9001-certified facility and has undergone extreme impact, fatigue, and wear testing to ensure durability and quality.
Forged, machined shell
Manufactured at an ISO 9001-certified facility
Undergone extreme impact, fatigue, and wear testing
Includes a corrosion-resistant coating
- Weight1.25 pounds
If you are looking for a strong and durable ball joint replacement for a 1992 to 1996 Ford or Dodge vehicle, then the Moog K8607T Ball Joint might be just what you need. The ball joint is comprised of a forged one-piece housing for optimal strength while its powdered metal gusher bearing design reduces friction and enhances stability and strength by enabling grease to flow through from the bearing to the stud. The full ball metal stud offers 360 degrees of consistent, smooth rotational movement, which results in more responsive steering. The Moog problem solver design also includes an oversized housing that provides a more secure fit. Its greaseable socket design allows contaminants to be flushed from the assembly by new lubricant; this, in turn, reduces corrosion and wear.
Designed for 1992 – 1996 Dodge and Ford vehicles
Powdered metal gusher and oversized housing
Forged one-piece housing
Full ball metal stud
Greaseable socket design
- BrandMOOG Chassis Products
- Weight1 pounds
The Detroit Axle Complete 14-Piece Front Suspension Kit contains everything that you need to swap out your front suspension, including front upper and lower ball joints. The kit is designed to fit 2000 Yukon 5.7L and contains all four front inner and outer tie rod end links, and two front stabilizer sway bar end links.
Designed for the 2000 Yukon 5.7L
14-piece front suspension kit
Includes both upper and lower suspension ball joints
Contains four front inner and outer tie rod links
Contains two stabilizer sway bar end links
- BrandDetroit Axle
- Model14 pounds
If you are looking for a replacement ball joint for a Polaris model, then the Epi Standard Ball Joint Kit might be just what you need. The kit includes the ball joint, snap ring, rubber boot, washer and nut, and cotter pin. The high-quality part includes an inner ball cage and a relief hole for moisture. It is suitable for a range of models, including ACE, Magnum, Ranger, Scrambler, and Sportsman. However, as the easy to install component varies by model, it is important to ensure that your vehicle is compatible.
Easy to install
Fits a range of Polaris models
Kit includes ball joint, rubber boot, snap ring, cotter pin, washer and nut
Includes a relief hole for moisture
Includes high-quality inner ball cage
- Weight6.4 ounces
The Moog K6541 Ball Joint is designed to fit Cadillac, Chevy, and GMC vehicles. The strong and durable part features a greaseable socket design that reduces corrosion and wear by allowing new lubricant to flush contaminants from the assembly. The Moog Problem Solver design includes an oversized housing for a more secure fit, and a powdered metal gusher bearing that reduces friction and enhances stability and durability by enabling grease to flow through the bearing to the stud. The component provides more responsive steering through 360 degrees consistent and smooth rotational movement of the full ball metal stud. Lower torque and stud articulation with minimal axial clearance are provided by the Belleville washer preload.
Powdered metal gusher bearing
Strong steel composition
Full ball metal stud
Belleville washer preload
Greaseable socket design
Fits Cadillac, Chevy, and GMC vehicles
- BrandMOOG Chassis Products
- Weight1.43 pounds
The ACDelco Advantage Front Lower Suspension Ball Joint Assembly is designed to fit a range of GM and non-GM vehicles. The one-piece housing and polyurethane boot give the assembly strength and durability, making it an economical replacement part for your vehicle. The component is manufactured at an ISO 9001-certified facility and is subjected to extreme testing to ensure durability and quality.
Designed for GM and non-GM vehicles
Forged, machines shell
Durable forged housing
Tested for impact, wear and tear, and fatigue
- Weight1.5 pounds
The Synergy Manufacturing Ball Joint Set is designed as a replacement for the factory ball joints on lifted vehicles with large off-road tires. The set comes with everything you need to replace the factory ball joint and is designed to provide improved performance, durability, and strength. The boot is made from silicone polyurethane that resists wear and tear, while the stud is made from 4140 steel and includes an induction heat treated bearing surface. The ball joint has a fully greaseable metal on metal design, and the housing is made from sintered graphite, bronze, and 1045 steel to create a smooth, strong bearing surface.
Designed for lifted vehicles with large off-road tires
Fully greaseable metal on metal design
Sintered graphite, bronze, and 1045 steel bearing housing
4140 steel ball joint stud
Silicone polyurethane ball joint boot
- BrandSynergy Manufacturing
- Weight2 pounds
Best Ball Joints Buying Guide & FAQ
Regular maintenance is one of the best ways of getting the most from your vehicle in terms of performance and longevity. However, even the best maintained car will have parts that eventually succumb to wear and tear, particularly if you spend a lot of time on poorly maintained roads or driving off-road. One part that can suffer in these conditions is the ball joint, and this can have a detrimental effect on your steering. When it comes to replacing this part, it is essential to get the right replacement. In this part of the buying guide, our panel of experts take you through the things you need to consider when buying ball joints for your car, the different types of ball joints that are available, and the best ball joint brands. We also answer some of the most frequently asked questions about ball joints.
Things to Consider When Buying Ball Joints for Your Car
The most important thing to consider when buying ball joints for your car is whether the part is suitable for the make, model, and age of your vehicle. If you purchase one that isn’t, then it will not fit properly. At best, this will mean that you have wasted your money, at worst it could mean that you cause further damage to your vehicle and potentially put yourself and others at risk of a catastrophic failure.
To ensure you buy the right ball joints, refer to your owner’s manual or the vehicle manufacturer’s website. Here you should be able to find the exact specifications for the part that you need. Also, check whether your vehicle requires a single ball joint on either side or has upper and lower ball joints. If the latter is the case, then bear in mind that upper and lower ball joints differ in their construction.
Design is also an important factor to consider. While the primary parts in each correctly fitting ball joint will be the same, the design of those parts can differ in terms of quality. The main parts within the ball joint are the housing, bearings, ball stud, and washer or spring. When looking at the quality of the parts, considering things like the strength and durability of the metal used in the bearing; how the parts are lubricated; and the construction of the shell.
The materials used to create each of the parts is just as important. Look for hardened metals that offer greater durability and strength. Hardened steel is wear-resistant and offers greater resistance to corrosion.
The position and role of the ball joints on your vehicle make them susceptible to corrosion as well as wear and tear. You can reduce both by choosing ball joints that have high-resistance coatings. This type of coating protects the ball joint from contaminants, which are the main cause of corrosion; polyurethane is a common coating used for this purpose.
Different Types of Ball Joints
Ball joints connect the control arms on your vehicle to the steering knuckles. As the wheels are steered the ball and socket design allows the joint to swivel and the knuckles to pivot and arc so that they can follow the suspension’s vertical motions.
The type and number of ball joints required by a vehicle depends on the type of suspension present in the vehicle. Those with SLA (short-arm suspension) have two upper and two lower ball joints. Vehicles with strut suspension have two lower ball joints in the front suspension. The exception to this is vehicles equipped with wishbone strut suspension; such vehicles have four ball joints. Front-wheel drive vehicles that have independent rear suspensions differ again, often having rear ball joints as well.
The two main types of ball joints are loaded and unloaded joints. Loaded ball joints support or carry weight such as the lower joints on an SLA front suspension and on rear-wheel drive vehicles. Unloaded ball joints do not carry weight. The upper ball joints on an SLA suspension and on rear-drive vehicles and the lower joints in front-wheel drive vehicles that use MacPherson struts are examples of such ball joints.
Best Ball Joint Brands
Two of the best ball joint brands are Moog and ACDelco. A third brand that should be strongly considered is Detroit Axle. However, it is important to ensure that the brand you are considering carries the right ball joint for your vehicle.
One of the reasons why Moog features as one of the best ball joint brands is its design. Moog ball joints reduce friction and enhance stability by allowing grease to flow to the stud. The design also allows it to flush contaminants that would otherwise cause corrosion and shorten the lifespan of the part. The steel composition of the Moog ball joint also increases its strength and durability. Other benefits of a Moog ball joint include its large housing, which improves fit and its dust boots. Moog products are also value for money and are generally considered to be affordable.
One of the benefits of ACDelco ball joints is that the housing is forged as a single piece. This greatly enhances the durability of the ball joint. ACDelco is also well known for testing its parts to extremes to ensure that they are strong and long lasting. The company specifically tests for fatigue and against severe impact. The durability of ACDelco parts is enhanced by the corrosion-resistant polyurethane coating used on the parts. Finally, the ball joints are suitable to use on a wide range of GM and non-GM vehicles, which increases their usability.
- Detroit Axle
One of the reasons why Detroit Axle should be considered as a top brand is because they provide complete suspension kits that include everything you need to swap out your vehicle’s suspension. This saves you from having to purchase parts individually and running the risk of having incompatible parts. Detroit Axle reviews suggest that the kits are easy to install, fit well, and are generally indistinguishable from the factory-installed parts on compatible vehicles.
Best Ball Joints FAQ:
Q: What are the ball joints and how do they work?
A: The ball joints in your vehicle directly affect the precision of your steering and allow you to steer and control your vehicle over uneven ground. Ball joints are comprised, of a ball and socket. The ball sits in the socket and creates a connection, while at the same time having freedom of directional movement. Think of the ball and socket joints in the human body, such as the hip and shoulder. Without these types of joints here, your freedom of movement would be severely limited. The same is true of the suspension on your vehicle. In this instance, the ball joints connect the steering knuckles to the control arms on your vehicle and create a pivot point. This enables the vertical movement of your suspension while allowing you to steer left or right as required. The placement of your vehicles ball joints depends on the type of suspension in your vehicle. Generally, they are part of the front suspension. However, some rear-drive cars will have ball joints in the rear suspension. The inclusion of ball joints in the suspension enables vehicles to travel safely over a wide range of different and uneven surfaces, including dealing with rocks, bumps, and potholes. The vertical movement enables the wheels to stay in contact with the road surface as it changes. Ball joints also allow vehicles to carry heavier loads.
Q: How often should I replace my ball joints?
A: It is generally accepted that ball joints need to be replaced after between 70,000 and 150,000 miles of driving. However, road conditions and the general condition of your vehicle will affect how often you need to replace the ball joints in your suspension. Changes in your steering or unusual noises from your suspension should be investigated as soon as they are noticed as these are key signs of wear in your ball joints.
Q: How do I know if ball joints are worn?
A: Signs that your ball joints are worn and need replacing include:
- The vehicle veering to the side when it hits bumps in the road
- Abnormal or unbalanced tire wear
- Unusual creaking noises
- Shaking in the steering wheel
- Front tires clunking
Our Top Pick
Our top pick is the Moog K80026 Ball Joint. It is engineered from a steel composition that ensures a stronger component. It is designed to improve chassis durability and performance and includes an oversized housing that provides a more secure fit. Its greaseable socket design reduces wear and corrosion by allowing contaminants to be flushed from the assembly by new lubricants. The Moog Ball Joint includes a full ball metal stud that gives 360 degrees of consistent, smooth rotational movement that results in more responsive steering. The powdered metal gusher bearing design reduces friction and provides enhanced stability and strength by enabling grease to flow through the bearing to the stud.
- How Long Does a Ball Joint Front Last? – Your Mechanic