Thinking about replacing your Jeep JK ball joint? Here’s everything you need to know about your Jeep JK ball joint replacement cost! Tap to read more!
It’s not common for a jeep JK ball joint to fail but it’s also not impossible. The problem of ball joint failure may occur as a result of decades of driving over uneven and bumpy terrains. If broken partially, the ball joint may give off a strange clunking noise. In some situations, problems related to drift steering and inefficient suspension may also arise due to broken ball joints.
On the other hand, if the ball joint of your Jeep JK gets worn out completely, it may cause scary tragedies to happen including steering drifting or falling off during the ride. Thus, to keep you from such terrible situations, today we’re going to discuss all the necessary aspects of a jeep JK ball joint replacement; When should you replace it? Why should you replace it? And jeep JK ball joint replacement cost. Let’s begin!
Ball joints connect the control arms of your suspension system to the wheel hub, providing a universal pivoting movement that in turn gives you a safe, smooth, solid, and well-controlled ride. Generally, ball joints are quite durable but like other components of your Jeep JK, they can’t last forever. The general service life of ball joints is 70,000 miles. However, this lifespan could be less or more as per your usual road conditions, driving habits, and exposure to water and salt.
As a ball joint wears, the tolerance between the ball and socket increases which causes the ball joint to lose and slip over time. The common telltale signs of a bad ball joint are as follows
The first and foremost telltale sign of a worn ball joint is a mysterious, intermittent clunking, clicking, and rattling noise which you may feel coming from a corner of your Jeep. The sound can be heard more clearly when your vehicle passes over a dip, a bump, or turns around a corner. Although the sound will be quite faint at the beginning, as the wearing continues and worsens, the sound will become louder, more audible, and more frequent.
Due to faulty front suspension because of worn ball joints, one of the front wheels came out of alignment more than the other, causing it to wear more rapidly over time.
So, another sign of worn ball joints is uneven wheel wear. However, you should remember that the reason behind tire wear is not always the faulty ball joint. To confirm the issue, you need to inspect the tire-wearing pattern. For instance, if the tire is wearing out faster on the inner or outer edges (especially the front tires) than the rest of the tread, it’s most probably due to a worn ball joint.
On the other hand, if both the edges are wearing down at the same pace but faster than the middle tread, the ball joint has nothing to do with it. There is a good chance that the problem might be with the tire’s insufficient inflation.
Due to worn ball joints, the suspension may rattle a bit harshly during the ride. As your vehicle gains speed, this suspension rattling gets transformed into more rattling or vibrating sensations that can be felt from inside the cabin. However, such sorts of vibrations may also be caused by other faulty parts of the suspension system along with the driveshaft, axle, and even the uneven wheels.
After the clunking sound, the most obvious and noticeable sign of a bad ball joint is stiff or sloppy steering. The extent of this stiffness or sloppiness of steering depends upon the extent to which ball joints have worn out. Generally, you feel your steering wheel vibration while driving your vehicle on a straight road or down a level. Likewise, unusual drifting of your Jeep to left and right when passing over the bumps and dips are also common symptoms of ball joint wear.
There’s not any one-line answer to when you should replace the ball joint. Usually, they are not replaced until they start showing signs of wear and tear by exhibiting the above-mentioned symptoms.
Remember that the ball joints are one of the most critical components of your vehicle which is responsible for controlling it. So as these ball joints begin to wear down, they stop doing their job too. When this wear gets worse, the ball joints cease to work completely which means you’ll completely lose control over your Jeep during the drive. To prevent horrible consequences like losing steering while driving at high speeds, it’s essential to repair or replace these ball joints as soon as possible.
However, there might be another factor behind all these telltale signs so it’s better to hire a professional mechanic for the exact diagnosis. Some old generations of jeep JK come with ball joints whose service life can be increased by greasing them. However, nowadays, the ball joints which are introduced in the latest models are sealed so they need to be replaced only.
Fortunately, the ball joint is not expensive at all, and so is its replacement. Still, the overall replacement cost of a jeep jk ball joint depends upon several factors such as whether you are going to replace it yourself or hire a mechanic for the job. From where you’re going to source the ball joint? etc.
Generally, a ball joint for jeep jk costs somewhere around $20-$150. However, this price may also vary based on some factors like manufacturer, material, brand, etc. On the other hand, the labor cost you’d need to pay for a ball joint replacement job may range from $100-$400.
Yes, you can replace the ball joint of your Jeep JK yourself but only if you’ve high knowledge and experience. Remember that ball joints are quite tricky to assess, remove, and install, especially if they’ve gone old or corroded. In some even worse circumstances, the ball joint may even integrate into the control arm which makes it more difficult to reach and remove it.
All in all, if you don’t know enough about your Jeep jk’s wheel hub and suspension system, it’s better to take it to a garage for professional replacement.