The Best Ball Joints for Your Money – A 2017 Review
Choose the best ball joints for your car by reading our 5-ball joints review. Learn how to select top rated ball joints for your money.
Here you are looking for the best ball joints on the market! And trust us! It’s good to be thorough! It’s actually really important to choose the best ball joints for your car. There are differences among models. And so there is definitely the perfect fit for your vehicle out there. The question is: which ball joint to choose. And how to choose the right one!
Why is it essential to be thorough? Because the ball joints connect the chassis with the wheel and enable the wheels to turn. When you drive on rough terrains, uneven streets, and U-turns, all you want is stability and smooth turning. And that’s what ball joints provide. But only as long as you choose the right ones. So let us take you to a short trip to the world of these special vehicle components. We provide information and a ball joints review to help you choose! So enjoy the ride!
What are the ball joints?
Ball joints are essential parts of the steering and suspension car system. They are actually a ball-and-socket joint just like your hip joint. If you don’t have experience in car mechanics, just picture a human hip joint. There is a rounded head bone inside a cavity that allows us to move our legs in all directions. And that’s exactly what the car ball joints do too. They basically include a ball inside a socket and allow rotary movement within specified limits.
How do they work?
The ball joints connect the vehicle to the wheel by actually connecting the steering knuckles to the control arms. These are all parts of the car’s suspension system. And they are mostly found at the front part of the car. In the car’s suspension system, the ball joints serve as the pivot point. Since they connect the tire/wheel to the car’s suspension system, they permit wheel rotation and keep your vehicle running.
Why are they important?
- They maximize safety by keeping the vehicle in full contact with the road
- They allow wheels to turn in all directions
- They enable you to keep full control of your vehicle
- They make the ride smooth
- They carry the car’s weight
- They provide stability
Which are the basic parts of ball joints?
- Housing – this is the socket hosting the ball stud
- Ball stud – this moves and rotates inside the housing
- Bearings – they are part of the stud and housed in the socket
- End cover – this is the lower cap which protects the bearing
- Dust boot – this is the rubber boot which keeps grease from leaking and protects the ball joints from street debris
- Spring – this receives the suspension load from the control arm. Some cars may have a shock absorber/Belleville washer.
Are there different types of ball joints?
Since not all cars are the same, the same goes for ball joints. Cars might have two or four ball joints, which might be located at the upper or lower part of the wheel hub. Some cars have two upper and two lower ball joints. Those with McPherson struts only have two lower ball joints / one per side.
And then there are loaded and non-loaded ball joints. The difference? Whether or not they can bear the load of the car. So what we have is:
- Load bearings which carry the weight of the car
- Non-load bearings that do not carry the car’s weight
Two more features differentiating ball joints:
- Some ball joints are greaseable and some are lubricated for life. As you have probably guessed, grease allows noise free car operation but it can also keep dirt out. And so the role of the protective rubber boot is great. It keeps road debris out and lubricants in. And so if it is damaged, the ball joints will wear.
- Some ball joints are sealed. And some high end products enable grease to filter the contaminants and flush them out.
When it’s the best time to replace your ball joints?
Don’t get alarmed! Ball joints do not wear easily. After all, they are designed to make driving smooth by absorbing shock and allowing you to turn the wheel as you wish. But friction between the bearing and stud is not avoidable. Wear is not entirely avoidable. The more you turn and the rougher the road, the sooner ball joints wear. But whether or not they will wear soon also depends on the quality of the product.
And that’s where our ball joints review might be helpful. Although the good maintenance of your car is worth every penny, you don’t want to pay money for non-durable ball joints. I don’t think you would object paying a few bucks more to ensure safety on the road. Though the trick is to get the best value for money ball joints.
How do you know the ball joints are worn?
- Listen! Is there any scraping or rattling when you turn the car?
- Check ball joints out! The protective boot must be in good condition. Check for dust rust too. And remember the lower ones wear first.
- Try moving the ball joints. They shouldn’t play.
- Does it feel uncomfortable when turning the steering wheel?
- Is the wheel out of alignment?
- Another indication is uneven tire wear.
- One last sign of ball joint wear is when the car starts pulling.
Although not all the above problems are clear indications pointing your way to ball joints replacement, they are often the reason for checking and perhaps replacing them.
How to choose the best ball joints for your car
One thing is certain: choosing quality ball joints is essential for your safety. Why? Cheap quality joints might lead to premature wear. And don’t forget that these car components take a huge amount of stress. Just picture how many times you turn the wheel! And most of them are load-bearing joints and this means they carry the load of your car. If they wear, you might lose control of your vehicle. If they break, the wheel will separate from the chassis. No need to mention the consequences!
So here’s a few tips to help you find the right ball joints for your car:
- Check the manual of your car to see if your vehicle wears upper and lower ball joints or only one.
- Choose based on your car’s model, year, and make.
- Make sure each and every part of the ball joints is durable and thus made of heavy duty steel.
- Prefer rust resistant steel to avoid corrosion in the long run.
Want some great tips from a professional mechanic? Check out the following:
“Ball Joint Replacement Tips:
- As a rule, replacement ball joints will often be the same type (greaseable or low friction) as the original. For some applications (such as trucks), you may want to upgrade to a stronger or greaseable aftermarket ball joint if the original equipment ball joint failed at low mileage.
- If a broken ball joint is being replaced, the tapered hole in the steering knuckle should also be inspected for damage (a worn taper can cause a repeat failure).
- On suspensions that use a pinch bolt to lock the ball joint stud in the knuckle, a new bolt should be used if the ball joint is replaced.
- Some ball joints are difficult to replace because they are pressed into the control arm. This will require taking the control arm to a parts store or shop that has a hydraulic press for disassembly and reassembly.
- Some ball joints are attached to the control arm with rivets. These must be chiseled or drilled out to replace the ball joint.
- If the ball joint is permanently attached to the arm, the whole control arm assembly must be replaced if the joint has worn out.”
Which are the best ball joint brands?
So let’s get to the heart of the matter. Who makes the best ball joints? Due to their reputed name for a number of years and personal experience, we would choose ACDelco and Moog.
- What ACDelco guarantees is high quality and super-strong greaseable ball joints. And one way the company advocates its quality is by pointing out the accuracy with which the housing and all parts are manufactured. Its products don’t have a spring and so there is no end play. Another advantage is that the parts are rust resistant and there is a boot to keep contaminants out. Should we also mention that ACDelco manufactures its products at ISO 9001-certified facilities? That’s a plus too.
- Moog ball joints are greaseable and durable. As the company explains, they are made of high quality compounds to resist abrasion, wear, extreme temperatures, and debris. One of the advantages of the Moog products is their innovative engineering which permits grease to flow to the stud via the bearing. Why is this important? You won’t get to your mechanic any time soon. Moog ball joints are designed to allow load transfer to the housing. And this increases stability.
Reviews of the best ball joints in 2017
This is one of the best ball joints for the money you spend. Why? It’s reasonably priced and has all the great features Moog promises. The design of the bearing allows grease to flow to the stud and this can enhance stability and reduce friction. As an overall, it’s a strong component due to its steel composition. It’s not just greaseable but will also flush out contaminants eliminating corrosion. What’s also distinctive about this product is its large housing, which allows the ball stud to turn in all directions smoothly. As for the basics, it includes dust boots and can be utilized by both four and two wheel drive cars.
So there is a lot to like about this particular product. Let’s sum it up but let us also see its shortcomings.
The features of this Moog ball joint model are similar to the previous product: grease flows through the bearing to the stud, the housing is one-piece and oversized, the ball stud turns smoothly, new lubricants can flush out the contaminants, there are dust boots, and the product is for both two and four wheel drive cars. It’s made to fit 1992 and 1996 Dodge & Ford vehicles and its price is a tad higher. Though, it’s not an expensive product. It’s actually a very good value for its price. And we recommend it since its pros outnumber its cons, as you can see below.
That’s what we call an excellent ball joint for its value. Its one-piece housing is forged and so durability is enhanced. The company tests it (as it does with all products) to check its strengths against severe impact. And such fatigue tests are what we all trust as consumers. It’s all made of special coatings, which can protect it from corrosion. And that’s extremely important too.
This ball joint can fit both GM and non-GM vehicles. Other features include the dust boot, which is made of polyurethane. So what you really get is a very strong product at a very low price. So we would recommend it if you want to replace your car’s ball joints on budget.
As with the previous ACDelco ball joint, the 46D2272A model is also greaseable and manufactured with a forged housing. It’s highly resistant since it’s heat-treated to withstand temperature extremes and fluctuations. And since this ball joint is also tested for its fatigue resistance, we can trust the quality the company provides. One more advantage is that it’s coated to resist corrosion. As for its price, it’s still very affordable.
Just like the other Moog ball joints, this model comes with the advantage of allowing grease to flow and reach the stud through the bearing enhancing durability and stability. Its housing is one-piece and large enough to guarantee a secure fit and enable the ball stud to turn with ease. Made by sturdy steel, it’s very durable and so long-lasting. You can lubricate it since it’s greaseable and has the capacity to clean the assembly from all contaminants. And this prevents corrosion and premature wear. It is designed for GMC, Chevy and Cadillac vehicles. It also features a Belleville washer, which provides lower torque. As for its price tag, it’s a bit more expensive than the above Moog ball joints but still reasonable for such an important car component.
And the winner is …
The Moog K8607T Ball Joint! It’s actually kind of tricky when trying to choose the winner among high end ball joint brands and models. And one reason for that is that each ball joint is made to fit specified car models and makes. But if we keep a distance and try to have a critical view based on the features and definitely their pros and cons, this particular Moog product would be our winner of our best ball joint reviews.
Why? It has all the features required to ensure stability, avoidance of contamination, resistance to corrosion, and smooth rotation. And its only downside is the grease zerks, which are not threaded and need self-tapping. But considering the other valuable elements and that it would only take minutes to tap the holes, we would say that this is one of the best ball joints on the market!