How Long Can You Drive On A Bad Ball Joint?

How Long Can You Drive On A Bad Ball Joint

How long can you drive on a bad ball joint? If we answer it in short, it relies on how bad they are. The lower ball joint generally gets more wear compared to the upper ball joint. We can say if there is only a little movement in either ball joint, you would not have any issue driving 500 miles. But we have reports of riding more, also.

In this in-depth article, you will learn details about driving on a bad ball joint, including whether it is safe or not, how far you can drive, and more.

So, let’s jump into the main discussion.

How Long Can You Drive On A Bad Ball Joint?

A ball joint connects the regulation arm of the vehicle to the steering knuckles. They control the movement of the front wheels in addition to the suspension. When ball joints are in bad condition, things can get worse. If you want to know what causes bad ball joints, it all comes down to the gradual wear of the ball joints.

The finest method to know whether your vehicle has bad ball joints or not is to be on the watch for telling symptoms. These symptoms are wandering steer wheels, noise, and worn-off tires.

So, how far can you drive on a bad ball joint? It mainly relies on the condition of the damage. For some people, driving one thousand miles shouldn’t be an issue.

For others, even twenty more miles can be a dangerous experience. Some people reported that they have driven their vehicle for 1200 miles or a couple of thousand miles on a bad ball joint.

However, you need to be careful as the wheels of your vehicle can come off. You can get expert help to check the extent of the damage to your vehicle’s ball joints.

However, do you know how long can you drive on squeaky ball joints? You need to know how much time you can drive on bad ball joints here. As your vehicle’s tires will be wearing off prematurely and quicker the longer you drive on it, you can drive for a few weeks. But for some people, they had driven bad ball joints for a good 5 months.

According to some mechanics, ball joints are built to never fall apart; they only get real loose.

Another thing you may want to know besides knowing the riding limits with a bad lower ball joint is how you can check a bad ball joint by yourself.

The right method to check ball joints is to jack every wheel from the soil by the jack-point on the lower regulator arm.

It keeps the truck or car at ride height compared to the suspension. Now, grasp the tire at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock positions and push the topmost and bottommost of the tire in and out.

There should not be any noticeable movement or play, but a small amount isn’t uncommon. The ball joints need to be changed if notable movement or play is felt.

Is It Dangerous To Drive With Bad Ball Joint?

Yes, driving with a bad ball joint is dangerous, and you shouldn’t drive with it. Persisting to drive can cause damage to other car parts like the steering. And if the ball joint fails wholly, you can lose the regulation of the car, leading to a collision and injuries.

The maximum number of ball joints has to wear off notably before becoming dangerous because of complete failure. But there will be issues with wheel alignment and steadiness that can place the driver in dangerous circumstances.

What Happens If You Drive On A Bad Ball Joint?

Bad ball joints begin to clunk when they are really bad. What generally occurs is that the rubber boot worsens and then the grease goes away and water and filth accumulate. As a result, you can hear the squeaking noise.

A bad ball joint is not a typical issue but can be the outcome of years of driving along jerky, rough street surfaces. Bad ball joints might be the cause of drifting steering.

In case a ball joint fails wholly, it can even result in the wheel of your vehicle falling off. If you have been shifting off the street with a bad ball joint, it wouldn’t be smart to attempt and get on the street again without replacements. It is not only for your safety but also for the safety of other street users.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does a bad ball joint last?

A bad ball joint isn’t as bad as it looks. You can ride for a week or two with a bad ball joint. But you need to remember that you are hurting gas mileage and causing numerous wear on the tire. As tires do wear faster, you need to replace the bad ball joints quickly.

How far can you drive on a broken ball joint?

The answer is zero miles. Not just can you not drive with a broken ball joint, but you should not. A ball joint supports the weight of your car or truck. When it breaks, your car or truck will be stuck right where it failed.

Can you drive a car with a loose ball joint?

You cannot drive a car with a loose ball joint in any situation. If it is affecting the steering, then it is already awful. If a ball joint gets loose completely, then your wheel will break off wholly taking a bunch of suspensions with it, totaling your car. It can probably kill you, or more notably anyone else unlucky enough to be around your car.


To conclude, we can say that you can drive more than a few hundred miles with a bad ball joint. However, if you run your car or truck with bad ball joints and you know this, you might be seized responsible for any damages you cause to others.

You will also be significantly raising the chance of causing an accident if you drive with a bad ball joint. So, when you think of knowing how long can you drive a car with bad ball joints, you also need to think about its consequences as well.

We are hopeful that after reading this article, now you have known everything about how long can you drive on a bad ball joint.

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D Conroy

Meet our senior writer and content manager of Automasterx. He has worked in several mechanical garages and mastered different vehicle diagnoses and parts repair. He never stops until finding out the ultimate solutions for any vehicle fault code. However, ensuring the only solid solutions for each vehicle malfunction is his core part of the duty, alongside analyzing fault codes and signals.

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