The lower ball joint provides a crucial function for all cars on the road today – so, what is it?
The lower ball joint is in charge of connecting the lower control arm, the chassis, and the wheel hub. Without this joint, the control arms would not be able to connect to the steering system and, therefore, would not steer or control your car.
Since the lower ball joint is such an important part of your vehicle, you can see why this part is crucial to keep in good shape – which sometimes means looking into the overall lower ball joint replacement price.
Let’s see what factors can affect the lower ball joint price. On average today, the typical price for a lower ball joint replacement comes to about $326.
Lower Ball Joint Mechanism
The ball joint consists of a bearing stud and socket that are both contained within a small casing. The bearing is tapered and threaded and fits into the steering knuckle. The protective casing prevents any debris from getting inside and adds some extra protection. This rubber-like boot allows movement and a flow of lubricant. The motion-controlled ball joints are controlled with an internal spring, which prevents any excessive vibration during the linkage.
Lower Ball Joint Function
So – what is the real purpose? In modern cars, the lower ball joint is the pivot between the wheels and the suspension, the system of tires, tire air, and springs that connect a vehicle to its wheels and allow motion, allowing the car to move. With almost all cars in production today, they are used in the front suspension, but can also be found in the rear suspension in luxury automobiles.
If you're planning on replacing both in your car for the rear and front suspension, this can increase the lower ball joint price.
Today, many automobiles use suspensions containing one lower ball joint per side between the strut and control arm, using articulation at the top of the strut. So, this means there are usually two ball joints in the suspension.
Sealed lower ball joints do not require lubrication over time since they are primed for their entire lifespan, reducing the lower ball joint price. Before ball joints were designed for periodic lubrication, this was minimized to reduce the maintenance requirements and lower ball joint price.
Ball Joint Lifespan
Further, adding new lubricant extended the lifespan of the lower ball joint. This could make it so that you do not need service until every 1,200 or so miles.
Some lower ball joints can last longer than others, meaning the overall lower ball joint price will be much lower since you will not have to replace them as much. Since ball joints will last a long time, sometimes they are forgotten – which can be dangerous if you leave it too long since they wear out over time.
They work extra hard on bumpy and windy roads, uneven terrain, and roads with potholes, so it depends on the certain mileage, types of roads, and conditions the lower ball joint has been exposed to, which can determine how long it will last.
High-Quality Ball Joint Parts
Furthermore, not all ball joints are created equal. Parts that are made with higher quality materials have greater strength and durability, meaning they can last longer and reduce the overall lower ball joint price. Lower ball joint parts made from lower-grade steel or not enough heat can lessen the lower ball joint’s lifetime by almost half.
Ball joints on each side of the car sometimes have similar wear since they are on the same side, which means it is common to get lower ball joints replaced in pairs.
Since the lifespan is so long, this can reduce the replacement of the lower ball joint price. Even though there is no lifespan of a lower ball joint, they can fail around 80,000 miles in modern vehicles and sooner in older cars. Signs of wear and tear of the lower ball joint include when a sudden bursting sound is heard by the driver and can result in the ball joint falling apart completely.
A snapping sound will follow this while you are turning the wheel, and a squeaking sound in the gas pedal when you are hitting bumps or driving on uneven terrain. Another symptom that is common with lower ball joint issues is consistent thud noises coming from tech suspension. This can lead to a higher lower ball joint price when replacing them.
Lower Ball Joint Replacement
When you decide you finally need to replace the lower ball joints in your car, this can increase the lower ball joint price. However, replacing a ball joint is fairly simple and will not break the bank for most people. It can take a while to remove all of the different pieces that comprise a lower ball joint, but it will not be too complicated.
Your mechanic might find other problems along with the lower ball joint though, which can increase the total lower ball joint price for a replacement. If you want to avoid having to pay for a lower ball joint replacement too soon, you can just pay attention to the roads you drive on, the terrain you are driving on, and the type of driving you undergo. If you concisely drive on uneven terrain and bumpy roads, this can increase the likelihood of a replacement and raise the lower ball joint price.
Lower Ball Joint Replacement Steps
Prepare Your Work Area
The first step in getting ready to replace the lower ball joint is to prep the work area. Make sure your car is positioned on a flat surface and block both of the rear wheels, making sure they do not roll anywhere by accident. Jack the front wheels off of the ground for some extra clearance, and use some jack stands if you have them.
Inspect the Lower Ball Joint
Next, inspect the lower ball joint and make sure this is the real issue. You don't want to replace a working ball joint because you have noticed some of the symptoms without confirming. Determine if your vehicle has a strut suspension or a control arm, checking for wheel play near the ball joint. If there is any space between the lower ball joint and point of contact, the lower ball joint needs to be replaced, which enhances the lower ball joint price.
Buy Ball Joint Replacement Part
Third, buy the correct replacement ball joint assembly for your car. Check out your local auto shop and make sure they have the right par for your specific lower ball joint make and model. Usually, a new ball joint replacement will cost you about $80-$90 if you purchase it new. In comparison to using a mechanic or a local professional shop to do the lower ball joint replacement, this is a significantly reduced lower ball joint price for the fix.
Remove the Wheel
After you have the new lower ball joint, you can remove the wheel and make sure you can access the lower ball joint. Depending on your specific car’s steering setup, you might have to move the brakes as well. In addition, try to avoid hitting or moving the brake rotor, caliper, and line without removing the entire set up. If you do, you will have to bleed the brakes, which is much more time consuming and might require a mechanic, which will increase the lower ball joint price replacement.
Soak the Bolts with a Lubricant
Lastly, during the setup for the lower ball joint replacement, soak the bolts with WD-40 or PB Blaster to remove all of the built-up dirt, debris, and road grit.
Loosen the Pins and Nuts
Now that you are set to start the real work on replacing the lower ball joint, you can pull the cotter pin and loosen the castellated nut. Then, pop loose the ball joint. The main goal is to try and guide it through the hole in the steering knuckle. Using A wrench, remove the largest nut for the ball joint and replace it with a new one. By putting the castellated nut on before you begin the hammering, you will avoid having the lower ball joint from coming out completely.
Remove the Allen Bolts
After this, you can remove the allen bolts and slide the control arm free. Sliding out the ball joint can then help you access the other components.
Install the New Lower Ball Joint
Now, you are ready to install the new lower ball joint. Start by guiding the new joint through the hole in the knuckle and then bolting the joint into place using the hardware. Then, torque the bolts to the right specifications. You are now at the last step. Screw in the new grease fitting and pump grease into the assembly, reattaching the brake and wheel if you remove them.
Now you have completed the lower ball joint replacement, lowering the lower ball joint price’s overall cost by preventing you from going to a mechanic shop.
Sample Lower Ball Joint Replacement Costs
In order to get a good idea of how much you will spend for a lower ball joint price in terms of a replacement, we have compared several common and modern cars that you will find on the market today.
Inexpensive Lower Ball Joint Price
One of the least expensive options for a lower ball joint replacement is the Ford Fusion, Toyota corolla, Nissan Altima, or Ford F-Series. All of these cars have similar prices, with the labor usually costing between $132 and $167 and the parts running between $93-$118. This shows that the lower ball joint price’s total cost is just $225-$285, which is pretty low for an automobile repair.
Expensive Lower Ball Joint Price
Some of the pricier options are the Chevrolet Silverado, Honda Accord, Honda Civic, and Honda CR-V. These models are only slightly more expensive than the cheaper ones since the lower ball joint price is low all around. The labor costs for these cars are between $167-$211, and the cost of the parts for these makes and models is between $76-$240, which shows kind of a big gap in parts prices.
Lower Ball Joint Options Online
When looking at the lower ball joint price in terms of a replacement, there are some options online that may work well for your specific vehicle or car.
Motorcraft Lower Ball Joint
One of the best options is the Motorcraft MCSOE 7 lower ball joint, which weighs 1.5 pounds and costs nearly $50 online. Users state that this part is a non-greasable factory replacement that securely fits into their vehicle to provide durability for their cars.
MOOG Lower Ball Joint
The second option for a lower ball joint replacement at a reduced lower ball joint price is the MOOG K500063 Ball Joint. This metal-to-metal design provides ample strength and lubrication to let the grease go through the bearing surface to reduce friction and excessive heat.
This kind of lower ball joint has a greasable socket to prevent any unwanted corrosion and excess wear and tear that can cause the joint to age prematurely. In addition, the MOOG lower ball joint absorbs impact to help the bearing remain tight and prevent any wear from outside damage or abrasions.
Lastly, the MOOG lower ball joint is easy to install, making this a good choice for beginners who only can afford a reduced lower ball joint price for their vehicle.
AC Delco Lower Ball Joint
The last kind of lower ball joint to purchase online is the AC Delco 45D2363 Lower Suspension Ball Joint Assembly. This lower ball joint is a one-piece part that can withstand extreme impact and sustain fatigue testing, showing the durability and longevity of this product.
Finding out what you want to spend on the lower ball joint price can help you make a smart decision on whether to repair or replace this crucial part. In addition, keeping an eye out for signs of a faulty lower ball joint can reduce the overall lower ball joint price that owners have to pay to fix their vehicle.