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How Long Can You Drive On a Bad Ball Joint? Let’s Identify With Hammer & Coop


Hammer & Coop always give priority to legal information regarding automotive tools. Today our topic is: how long can you drive on a bad ball joint?

“Ball joints are in charge of steering and suspension for the car’s front wheels. Things can go awry if they aren’t in good shape. The suspension system relies on these components. Thus, they must be in excellent working order to ensure your safety.”

If you detect any of the issues listed below, you should seek the advice of an expert. If you fail to do so, you and others will be in danger of mishaps. Let’s know this matter deeply with us!

What Is a Ball Joint?

Ball joints in automobiles are made up of a spherical bearing and a tiny socket. Control arms and steering knuckles are connected by these parts. When they begin to fail, they might let the vehicle drive in an unsafe direction.

Two examples of top-quality ball joints in the recent market are Detroit Axle Ball Joints MOOG K80026 Ball Joint.

What is the Root Cause of Them Becoming Worn Out?

Your car’s undercarriage is completely open to the elements. In the event of a loss of lubrication, the ball joint might get clogged with debris from the road. This might lead to unexpected movement or looseness in the ball joints.

Signs of Bad Ball Joints

The most common signs are:

  1. Awkward Steer Wheel
  2. Noises
  3. Worn off tires

Awkward Steering Wheel

When you’re behind the wheel of a car, you need to feel in command of the situation. You should be concerned if you realize that your vehicle’s stability is deteriorating and that you are losing control.

The wandering may not be evident since it will only happen once or twice during the journey. A trembling in the wheel and an occasional wandering are signs that the problem isn’t going away. You might quickly slam into other vehicles or pedestrians on the road if you lose control of your vehicle.

It’s caused by a weakening of the system’s connection due to the aging of the ball joints. The ball joints may be loose rather than worn out in some vehicles. Regardless of the situation, you’ll need the help of an expert who can identify the issue and resolve it quickly.


Your journey should be quiet and smooth if you get your automobile serviced periodically. If you hear many thudding noises in your car, it can be an indication of worn-out ball joints. If the damage is severe enough, the sound will be louder. 

A pothole may be all it takes to start making noises for some folks. Because their ball joints are better, most people won’t hear this noise until they drive on dirt roads.

The ball joints in the suspension are at blame since they have worn down over time. As a result, the vehicle’s shock-absorbing qualities diminish, and you feel every bump on the road. 

Even if you don’t hear the noises at first, they’ll get worse if you ignore them.

Shock-absorbing capabilities are essential for both the ride’s smoothness and your safety. What’s going on? The car’s chassis would be incomplete without ball joints. 

Your automobile would drive in any direction if a joint were to come loose, and there is nothing you can do to stop it. If possible, don’t you think it’s best to rescue the situation?

Worn Off Tires

It’s common for folks to put off replacing their worn-out tires until things become bad enough that they finally do it. Tire damage may signify damaged ball joints, but they aren’t aware of that possibility. 

What’s going on? When you’re driving, you’ll notice a shakiness in the road. You’re worried because it seems like they’re stumbling all over the place under you.

When the ball joints aren’t functioning correctly, the tires point outward. However, on the other hand, they appear to need a new member. Both front tires show signs of wear on the central portion of the tread on the ‘affected’ side.

On a Damaged Ball Joint: How Long Can You Keep Driving?

The next step is to find out if your ball joints are problematic. Is it time to get them changed? Taking a chance and driving on as if nothing is wrong might be a risky move.

The amount of the damage will determine the response to this question. Driving 500 miles shouldn’t be an issue for some folks. Even traveling an additional ten miles may be too much for some people. 

The safety of other road users is more important than your own when you try to go back on the road after being off the road for an extended period.

Independent Front Suspension Basics

Your car’s front suspension is an impressive piece of engineering. 

To get you where you want to go, your vehicle’s front suspension, which comprises several control links and wheel hubs, moves your front wheels up and down independently of one another while also allowing both of them to rotate simultaneously in either direction.

When it comes to front suspensions, the ball joint is the common denominator that allows them to accomplish what they are supposed to do. The failure of a ball joint can have disastrous results.

With each pivot of the control arms, the wheel hubs, which hold your wheels and tires in place, pivot slightly to the outside of each control arm.

Additionally, your steering system is linked to the hubs, so they need to turn left and right during their upward and downward motion

Wear Indicators & Dangers of Worn Ball Joints

As a result of the difficulties of diagnosing loose ball joints, certain ball joints include wearing indications. A moveable grease fitting is used as a wear indication.

Wear indication pins can be seen protruding from the bottom of the ball joint in specific models.

Your front suspension will come apart, and you will lose control of your car if a ball joint wears out, so don’t put it off any longer than necessary. It’s best to have your car checked out by a mechanic specializing in diagnosing and correcting suspension issues if you suspect damaged ball joints.

How to Check Ball Joints?

check ball joints on car

When buying a secondhand automobile for the first time, make sure to inspect the ball joints thoroughly. 

You should be aware of the following symptoms of a damaged ball joint:

  • Is your car making strange noises or vibrations? Is there a greater tendency for the wheel to pull to one side?
  • On a regular day, how accurate would you say your steering is? Is the steering wheel entirely within your control, or does it jerk around a bit?
  • Do further testing on uneven roads with the car. Observe changes even if you’re only going the speed limit.

When you believe your car has a faulty ball joint, use the test driving guidelines listed above to help you determine the extent of the damage. 

A skilled mechanic should check the problem as quickly as possible to begin the replacement procedure. Remember that replacing a ball joint can be difficult, significantly, if the socket has been eroded by corrosion.

The ball joint may be included in the control arm of some vehicles. However, if you’re not familiar with the wheel hub assembly, it’s usually a good idea to see a professional technician.

Final Verdict

Because your entire automobile rests on your ball joints, you must choose a high-quality product when replacing them. Tires might wear abnormally if your ball joints are defective.

You may find it challenging to steer and operate the car if the ball joints wear out. In the event of a failed ball joint, the suspension of a vehicle may fail, or a wheel may come off, leading the vehicle to lose control.


Do you have to be careful when driving if you have a bad ball joint?

Yes, driving with a faulty ball joint is risky because it might harm other car components.

What are the consequences of a ball joint failure while driving?

Even though ball joint failure is uncommon, it can result from years of driving on bumpy, uneven roads. A damaged ball joint may produce a perplexing clunking noise or cause the vehicle to wander in its steering. If a ball joint breaks, the wheel may come loose from the vehicle and fall off.

Does it make sense to replace all the ball joints at once?

car ball joint old and new replacement

 When you take your car to the shop, be sure to have the stud hole in the steering knuckle and other related components checked out as well.

Do ball joints survive for long?

It usually relies on the type of vehicle and the style of driving carried out. Before it needs to be replaced, a ball joint has typically traveled 112654 miles.

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