The Average Cost to Replace the Lower Ball Joint is $100-350, Depending on If You Go to the Mechanic or DIY
This price range is based on national averages for all vehicles and doesn’t factor in taxes, fees, or your particular make and model. Related maintenance or repairs, such as upper ball joint replacement, wheel alignment, steering knuckle repair, or suspension repair, may also be needed. For a more accurate estimate on lower ball joint replacement cost based on your make, model, and location, use the RepairPal Fair Price Estimator.
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Cost at the Mechanic: $250-$350
- Parts: $100-$150
- Labor: $150-$200
A lower ball joint replacement service takes about an hour to complete. Although manufacturers generally don’t set specific replacement timelines on ball joints, these components usually last for at least 100,000 miles. Certain driving habits (such as driving on rough roads frequently) and vehicle modifications (such as suspension lower kits) can vastly shorten the lifespan of your lower ball joints.
Cost to DIY: $100-$150
- Difficulty Level: Advanced
- Parts Needed: Replacement ball joints, tire iron, ball joint press kit, wrenches, and pliers
Ball joints aren’t always easy to replace, but if you have ever changed brake or suspension components in your vehicle, you may be up for the task. Changing your own lower ball joint can save you money, as the parts typically aren’t too expensive. You will need to have a vehicle jack plus the tools needed to remove the wheel to access the ball joint.
Keep in mind: There are many different types of lower ball joints, and not all ball joints fit all vehicles. If you plan to replace your lower ball joints yourself, be sure to choose the right parts to fit your vehicle. When in doubt, always refer to your owner’s manual.
What Is Lower Ball Joint Replacement?
A ball joint is part of a vehicle’s suspension system, consisting of a socket and a ball encased in a rubber boot. The boot is filled with lubricant and links the upper and lower control arms to the steering knuckle, allowing the suspension to move up and down with ease. The lower ball joint links the lower control arm to the steering knuckle and aids in the proper steering of the vehicle. When a ball joint wears out, it requires removal and replacement to protect the suspension system and maintain control over the vehicle.
What Does a Lower Ball Joint Replacement Include?
A lower ball joint replacement service includes the removal and replacement of a single ball joint within a wheel. The service takes about an hour to complete. If you have multiple ball joints that need replacement, it’s recommended to replace them all at the same time. Many vehicles have upper and lower ball joints, so when inspecting the lower joint, it’s smart to inspect the upper joint to determine if it needs to be replaced as well.
After completing the service, an automotive technician might perform a tire balance and/or tire rotation to ensure that the vehicle can drive smoothly. Replacing both the upper and lower ball joints may be recommended, depending on the condition of each.
What Happens If You Don’t Get Lower Ball Joint Replacement Done?
If you have a bad lower ball joint and continue to drive, this could cause the lower control arm to detach from the steering knuckle, which would cause the driver to lose control of their vehicle. As the wear on a ball joint increases, other problems can occur, including poor handling and uneven tire wear.
It’s important to take action at the first sign of ball joint problems to avoid more significant or costly problems with your vehicle. You also put your own safety and the safety of those around you on the road at risk by failing to replace a ball joint that is no longer functioning properly.
How Often To Get Lower Ball Joint Replacement
Lower ball joints can typically last for about 100,000 miles or more in normal driving conditions. If you frequently drive off-road or on uneven, bumpy surfaces, the pressure placed on the ball joints increases and may shorten their lifespan. Most vehicles will need the ball joints replaced at some point, although this typically isn’t necessary right away. Always check your owner’s manual to determine the maintenance schedule for your vehicle.
Common Symptoms You Need To Have Lower Ball Joint Replaced
- Vibrations in the steering wheel
- Shaking on the right or left side of the vehicle
- Clunking sounds
- Steering wheel pulling to one side or the other
- Uneven tire wear
- Snapping sounds, often coming from near the floorboard of the car
These symptoms can also be caused by other components of the vehicle, such as elements of the suspension, brake system, or wheels. Before you change the lower ball joint, it’s helpful to perform a visual inspection. Visible rust, grease leakage, and damage to the rubber that surrounds the ball joint can all indicate the need for replacement.
Related Maintenance Services
The following services are commonly performed with lower ball joint replacement:
- Upper ball joint replacement
- Wheel alignment
- Steering knuckle repair
- Suspension repair
- Tire rotation
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