Ball joints are spherical bearings that are a part of your car’s steering suspension. This tool traces suspension and keeps your tires flat against the road. The steering wheel can suddenly lose control or may damage other vehicle components if this ball joint goes bad.
Now the question is, can you drive with a bad ball joint? Yes, you can, but not for too long. The severity of the damage to the ball joint will determine how long it will be safe to drive. A moderately damaged ball joint may last another 500 miles, but it should be replaced quickly if severe.
So, if you are very concerned about your driving, you can check the symptoms of bad ball joints and how you can prevent them from reaching such conditions.
What Is The Ball Joint?
The suspension system of your car relies heavily on ball joints. The suspension of your automobile is equipped with ball joints, which enable it to move in any direction, particularly up, down, and side-to-side.
The control arm of the car and the steering knuckle are essentially joined rigidly by these ball joints. They control the suspension of any car as well as the motion of the front wheels. Your car operates very well when they are in good condition. However, things can go wrong if they aren’t in good condition.
Since they are an essential component of the car’s suspension system, they must be in satisfactory condition to ensure both your and the car’s safety. Remember that other drivers’ safety depends on this as well.
How Long Can You Drive On A Bad Ball Joint?
It depends on how badly your car ball joint got damaged. There are a lot of people who choose to continue driving with bad ball joints because they don’t even know what’s wrong!
But it is hazardous to drive a car with bad ball joints. You might be able to go about a few hundred miles; some estimates say you can drive 500 miles with a slightly damaged ball joint, but that’s not a promise.
As soon as you observe any of the symptoms described below, you should immediately take your car for a professional checkup. This will help avoid injuries or accidents if the ball joints are worn out.
What Are The Signs Of Bad Ball Joints?
In addition to being a nuisance, bad ball joints can impair steering performance and make driving risky. Therefore, check out for symptoms of bad ball joints to ensure your future safety:
Uneven wear on front wheels
Because faulty ball joints might cause the vehicle to be out of alignment, uneven tire wear may occur due to imbalance. Uneven tire tread is seen on each tire as rough strips of the thin tread. Using a tire measure may cause you to be able to distinguish between different or varying depths.
When a ball joint is worn out and defective, its housing will begin to rattle. As a result, as the suspension travels up and down uneven or rough roads, a metallic clunking sound is produced.
Loose or unsteady steering
A faulty ball joint might cause your vehicle to feel shaky and unstable, and this symptom is concerning. You may feel like you are probably losing control of your car in such situations, which increases the possibility of accidents.
When you spin, you’ll start hearing a crackling noise if the rubber boot that retains and preserves the grease wears out. This is because; the joint has lost the lubricant that keeps it cool as well as smooth at the same time.
Excessive vibration will result if the ball joints are worn out or loose. You will feel a vibration through either the steering wheel or even the body of the car.
A ball joint that is not secured correctly can throw off a vehicle’s alignment, causing it to veer to the right or left as the car is being driven.
How To Prevent Bad Ball Joints?
Getting behind the wheel is not a good idea if your ball joints are worn out. So, to avoid ball joint failure, do the following:
It is critical to maintain your car regularly. But, this action can aid in the prevention of ball joint failure. This covers items like suspension and alignment checks and replacing old parts.
Check ball joints regularly
You may visually inspect your ball joints by examining the wheel. If you see they are damaged, or in bad condition, you should replace them immediately. You can handle this by sending your car to a skilled mechanic.
Drive with caution
Always try to drive safely. This activity can help bad ball joints, or it can prevent ball joint failure. So, it’s highly recommended: to avoid driving at speed to avoid potholes and other obstacles on the road.