Ball joints are an important part of your vehicle's suspension. Ball joints are one of the components of the wheel hub, which your wheels and tires are mounted onto. The wheel hub is then connected to the suspension. Your vehicle will provide you with a few signs when they start to go bad. Since you can't easily see your ball joints, it is important to watch out for these signs.
The most common sign that people notice when their ball joints go bad is a unique sound. This sound usually sounds like your vehicle is making a banging sound. The sound is most obvious when you are either going around the corner or going over a dip or a bump. A bad ball joint sounds like a piece of metal that is being hit with a hammer.
As your ball joint gets worse, the sound will increase, with more hitting sound every time the surface of the road changes or you hit a pothole or ban cover. The sound can evolve into more of a bang sound, like your vehicle is bottoming out.
As the ball joint is connected to your wheels and tires, it can also impact the steering as well. When the ball joints get worn out, you will feel it in the steering. How a damaged ball joint impacts your steering depends on the way that the ball joint is wearing down. You may feel like your steering is either stiffer or sloppier. When you are driving straight, without braking, you may also feel a vibration in your steering wheel as well. That shaking is not your brakes; it is your ball bearings.
#3 Tire Wear
A worn ball joint, as it is attached to your tires, will impact the way that your tires wear. If the ball joint is worn out, either the outer or inner edges of the tire are going to wear out at an accelerated rate. Your tire tread may be okay, but the outer edge of your tire is going to show excess wear and tear.
Another tire sign of a bad ball joint is cupping or scalloping. Cupping or scalloping happens when hills and valleys start to develop on your vehicle. This can make your tire bounce as you drive, putting additional stress on your ball joints and your suspension.
If your vehicle is not driving smoothly, pay attention to the signs your vehicle is giving you. If you are hearing a sound like metal getting hit with a hammer or scraping the ground when you turn or hit potholes and bumps, if your steering seems to have changed, and if your tires are wearing on either the outer or inner edge or develop cupping, those are all signs that your vehicle's ball joints may need to be replaced or serviced.
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