Understanding Ball Joints And How You Can Pick One

If you have an older vehicle, then you may expect certain parts and pieces to break down on your car more often than not. And, you are likely to experience a failure of one or both of your front ball joints. If you are someone who likes to repair your own car or if you simply like to understand what your mechanic is repairing, then keep reading to learn about what a ball joint is and how you find the correct replacement car part from a place like Fresno Auto & Truck Recycling.

What Is A Ball Joint?

Ball joints are part of your suspension system and sit way back behind your wheel. They attach between the control arm and steering knuckle and connect these two parts together. This part is one that you do not typically see unless you remove the wheel and the knuckle, but is an essential component that ensures that you can safely maneuver and steer your vehicle. 

A typical ball joint actually looks like a ball and pivots and shifts when pressure is placed on it. The ball is often encased in a housing or cover that protects the joint from damage. The housing is also where much of the lubrication is that allows the ball portion of the part to move smoothly. 

Ball joints will stabilize your wheel and you will often feel the wheel vibrating, moving in a direction other than the one you are steering it towards, and possibly angling either towards or away from your car. 

You should know that ball joint issues can be extremely dangerous, especially when the part fails completely. When this happens, the wheel will either turn in or outward and it may come off the car completely. This can happen while you are driving and you can easily cause an accident when it occurs.

How Do You Choose a New Ball Joint?

If you are looking to replace the ball joint on your vehicle, then you may have the option of choosing the ball joint yourself. Keep in mind that the part will need to be either a replacement or an OEM one for your make and model of your vehicle. You really cannot pick different types, sizes, or other features when it comes to these parts. Basically, the ball joint is meant to fit the specific suspension of your car. 

However, different companies and parts manufacturers will have their own ball joints that meet the standards and fit that you need, so you can shop around a bit when buying your ball joint.

If you need help choosing the part or installing it, speak with an auto parts expert or a mechanic.