Ball Joint Replacement Cost

Ball Joint Replacement Cost

There are a lot of connected parts that make up the various systems in a car. These connected parts use joints and clamps to hold onto each other.

Ball joints connect the front suspension and steering systems; if any of these joints go bad, the steering may not turn, or you may notice that the steering wheel vibrates as you drive. But how much does ball joint replacement cost?

This is one of the cheapest replacements you can do on a car. It costs around $200 to replace a ball joint, but in some cases, you may be paying up to $500. 

Some factors affect the actual amount you’d pay to have a bad ball joint replaced!

What Are Ball Joints and Their Function?

Ball joints operate just as they sound - a small “ball-like” metal inside a joint, allowing circular movements between the connected components. This type of joint is used where 180-degree or 360-degree rotary movement is needed. The ball itself rotates inside the joint’s structure; ball joints are used in the control arms and steering knuckles.

Like other joint types, ball joints need constant lubrication to function. When lubrication is not enough in the joint, it can cause failure due to high friction between the joint body and the free ball inside.

Also, poor lubrication will allow dirt buildup inside the joint, and that could result in the stiffness of the components.

Ball joints are practically the reason why the steering wheel turns 360 degrees in any direction. So, basically, anything that affects the ball joints will definitely affect the steering, which means that one of the signs of a bad ball joint is a hard/stiff steering wheel.

Ball Joint Replacement Cost

Replacing a bad ball joint would set you back anywhere around $200 to $500 for parts and labor costs – the majority of the cost being on labor. Parts’ costs are around $50 to $200, while labor costs could reach up to $300, depending on where you’re getting the service done.

Notwithstanding, there are cases where ball joint replacement costs may exceed $500; this is especially particular to luxury cars.

Also, there are different types of ball joints in every vehicle; the particular one you’re replacing will affect the cost. Replacing the front upper ball joint is typically cheaper than the lower ball joint.

Vehicle MakeEstimated Cost
Chevrolet K1500
$277 - $355
GMC C3500
$331 - $384
Mercedes-Benz CL600
$340 - $549
Toyota 4Runner
$283 - $590
Honda Crosstour
$205 - $249
Fiat 500X
$417 - $459
Chevrolet Silverado 3500 Classic
$287 - $422
Hyundai Palisade
$166 - $183

This table/chart is from RepairPal; it shows the estimated cost of replacing ball joints in different vehicles.

But then, ball joints don’t just fail; they show you a couple of signs to draw your attention; only if you ignore these signs would you have to replace the ball joint when it finally fails. In most cases, simply adding lubricant to the joint can fix whatever issue you’re experiencing with the joint. That said, you should know the signs a failing ball joint exhibits.

How To Know You Have Failing Ball Joints

When you start noticing any of these signs, you should inspect your car’s ball joints for possible failure. You can perform a physical inspection or have a mechanic run a diagnostics test.

  • Unusual clunk or knock sounds when turning the steering wheel in any direction.
  • The steering wheel vibrates seriously when you run over small bumps or potholes.
  • Excessive wear on the front tires, especially if you had them changed recently.
  • Rattling/squealing noise when driving.
  • The steering wheel wanders freely.

While these are the common signs that depict you’ve probably got a bad ball joint, there could be other signs, such as misaligned wheels, unbalanced suspension, and other possible ones. Have your car thoroughly checked whenever you start noticing unusual signs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes ball joints to go bad?

As part of the suspension system, if an underlying failed component hasn’t been fixed, the ball joints could get affected as you keep driving with the failed component. Situations such as debris getting into the joint, lack of proper lubrication, and failure of suspension components can all lead to a bad ball joint.

How long does it take to replace a bad ball joint?

If a professional is getting it done, it may take him just about one hour to complete everything. But if you’d be doing it yourself, you could spend up to three hours trying to get everything done and cleaned up perfectly. Also, the amount of time spent is determined by the number of ball joints to be replaced.

Can you drive a car with a bad ball joint?

Yes, you can, but you shouldn’t. Not only does driving with a bad ball joint put you and your passengers in great danger, but it can cause more severe damage to other components that make up the steering and suspension systems, causing you to pay more for repairs.