What are the problems after changing ball joints? The main problems you will face are various steering issues. And the most common reason behind this turns out that people forget about alignment.
There can be many other reasons behind these issues and several solutions as well. Here, we will talk about all those problems and solutions in detail.
After reading this, we can declare that you can solve all issues you may find after changing your vehicle’s ball joints.
So, let’s jump into it.
Problems After Changing Ball Joints
You can face many problems after replacing ball joints. And here we go with the most common ones that filtered out of different users’ complaints.
Some people feel that their steering becomes very unpredictable after changing ball joints. They stated that when a steering rectification is needed, it feels like the wheel needs to be pushed a little, then when it rectifies it darts off and needs the same input again to counter the extra rectification.
This problem can happen when the ball joints are not within the correct torque value. So, you need to check whether the ball joints were correctly torqued to solve this issue. But if it doesn’t work, then it’s more than likely that the ball joints’ quality is causing the problem. It can happen if you are using low-quality Moog ball joints.
Some mechanics no longer use Moog ball joints on trucks because of their suspicious quality. The main reason for that is they are very stiff and impact the steering. So, do not use Moog ball joints on your trucks. Some people also feel that the ball joints’ quality is not the issue.
They solve the unpredictable steering problem by just loosening the ball joints nuts, popping the knuckle, and then reinstalling the ball joints.
Some people find out that after changing ball joints, the steering feels loose, and it feels like the power steering jolts the steering wheel. A few people even have gone to say that they changed the tie rod ends but that did nothing also.
Their car wandered all over the street and they had to continuously correct the steering. This issue can happen if there is stiction in the new ball joints, which goes away over time.
Or it can happen if the new ball joints screw up the alignment. Maximum time the alignment will be off if you replace your ball joints. If the old ball joints are worn, then your alignment is already screwed up.
In this case, you have to fix the alignment. Another reason that can cause this issue is faulty steering rack bushings. You need to check the steering rack bushings and if they are faulty, then replace them.
Hard, Stiff, And Difficult Steering
According to one sufferer shared in Ford Trucks, sometimes, the steering can be pretty hard, stiff, and difficult after replacing the bad ball joints. The car’s wheel would remain in whatever position it was turned to and not go back to the center.
It will make highway driving tough and a continuous battle with the wheel. This problem can happen if you don’t fix your alignment after the ball joint replacement. So, go to an alignment shop and fix the alignment.
One thing you must notice is that a few ball joints have particular orientation requirements. There might be a mark on the boot or base signifying this side toward the car.
You need to install the ball joints according to that, or this problem can happen. There is an alignment setting called caster which can cause this problem as well. You need to replace the caster in that case to solve the issue.
After Turning Right Or Left The Steering Wheel Doesn’t Return To the Center
Some people complain that after replacing ball joints, and turning right or left, the steering wheel doesn’t return to the center as it needs to.
It tries to come back at the full turn but stops with around a 1/4 inch turn left. After installing them, this problem can happen if you don’t grease the new ball joints. To solve this, you need to first grease the upper ball joints. Then, pull the plugs on the lower ball joints and grease those.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How often should ball joints be replaced?
There are no mileage requirements for replacing ball joints. Ball joints are required to be sometimes inspected and changed if found worn. Some people reported that their ball joints last for more than 160,000 miles, but potholes, pace bumps, and street salt in winter months damage them. However, you need to have your ball joints replaced between 70K-150K miles of driving in general.
Does replacing ball joints affect alignment?
Replacing ball joints does not affect alignment if not your previous alignment was done when ball joints were worn out. However, bad and loose ball joints will affect alignment. Here, you must fix the alignment after replacing ball joints.
What else should I replace when replacing ball joints?
If you only replace the lower ball joints, then you don’t need to replace the entire lower control arm. But if you replace the upper ball joints the case is different. With an original equipment manufacturer setup, you need to replace the entire upper control arm, not only the upper ball joints.
Do new ball joints make a difference?
Yes, the new ball joints make a difference. You will feel the steering to be very light, it tracks straight as an arrow, and the steering is extremely precise. You will also feel a nicer ride than before. And if you are used to putting very much pressure on the steering wheel, you will be very happy with the new ball joints. At that time, you will get the feeling of power steering.
What do New ball joints feel like?
After installing the new ball joints, your car steering might be a little stiff. It can be difficult to handle the steering, especially when you change lanes you may feel like you are driving on ice. However, if you are a fan of power steering, you will like it.
It is truly stressful to find your car steering doing unpredictable things after changing the ball joints. There are many steering problems that you can find out after changing the ball joints. These steering problems are the most common problems after changing ball joints.
However, if you know the reasons and solutions behind these issues, you can easily solve them. And here, we have discussed them in detail. We are hopeful that now you can solve these issues very easily.
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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.