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Ford Explorer Ball Joint

Ford Explorer Ball Joint Failure: Symptoms of Trouble

If you've got your elbows and knees for smooth limb movements, your SUV has got its own Ford Explorer ball joints for smooth swerves and steering. And just like how aching joints limit your movement, failing ball joints can also restrain your Explorer's drive. If you're not in for such trouble, then you should readily cure Ford Explorer ball joint failure once you spot its symptoms. Here are some of them:

Groaning noise

Ball joint trouble is usually preceded by unusual noises, just like failure in other car parts. So once you hear groaning sounds under your vehicle, go ahead and check your car's ball joints. Each control arm is equipped with one, so don't forget to check both for any signs of wear or damage. Luckily, the groaning noise can often be resolved by simple lubrication. Coating the noisy joint with synthetic brake caliper grease should quickly solve this glitch.

Squeaking sound

Apart from groans, squeaks also signal some ball joint trouble. This noise can be particularly observed when you drive your Explorer over bumps. However, dry bushings can also cause a similar noise, so to verify if the squeaks do come from a bad joint, feel your Explorer's bushings while trying to bounce the wheels. If you find that the bushings are just fine, then it really is a bad ball joint you're dealing with. Check the joints in the upper and lower control arm assemblies so that you can determine whether repair or replacement is needed.

Worn-out tires

Since a bad ball joint keeps you from having smooth rides, it is also likely to bring damage to your other car parts. And these include your tires, which could eventually wear out as a result of the rough drives. So once you see damage on your Explorer's tires, check your upper and lower ball joints for possible damage too.

Torn boot

Among the more visible symptoms of ball joint failure is a torn boot. Once you suspect play in your Explorer, check the control arm assemblies of your car. You will readily see if the protective cover of your Ford Explorer ball joint is already torn or damaged, which both suggest failure. Torn boots also usually require ball joint replacement.

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  • Tips for Ford Explorer Ball Joint Care 27 February 2013

    Does the thought of arthritis scare you? Your Ford Explorer ball joint probably shares the same feeling. Damage, wear, or failure-from whatever it is that is tantamount to the dreaded arthritis, your SUV's ball joints should be protected, especially if you don't want to deal with noisy and shaky rides later on. Good thing, some Ford Explorer ball joint troubles can be delayed, if not totally prevented. Below are some care tips that'll surely help:


    Lubricate the joints periodically.


    Since the joints of your car are of the ball-and-socket type, friction is an omnipresent enemy. To prevent your Explorer's ball joints from wearing out and becoming dry, make it a habit to apply some lubrication once in a while. Applying synthetic brake caliper grease on your joints' protective cover (i.e., boot) should help.


    Perform routine check-ups.


    Here's some bad news: you can't expect your upper and lower ball joints to last forever. But the good thing is that you can delay failure as much as possible, and that is if you can spot early signs of trouble. So how do you that? Simple: conduct periodic check-ups on your car's control arm assemblies and regularly check your wheels for any play. Simply raise your Explorer using a jack and jack stand to perform inspections on both the control arm assemblies and the wheels. Visually examine your upper and lower ball joints for any signs of wear and do a bounce test to check for wheel play. Any wiggly motion on the wheels suggests ball joint trouble. You could also check your Explorer's joints by simply listening to your suspension while you drive your SUV. Any unusual or rattling sound from the front end of your car indicates ball joint malfunction.


    Replace defective components accordingly.


    If you have already confirmed ball joint failure, then the best way to keep your smooth rides is to replace the defective components right away. Ball joints alone cost $4.97 to $101.71. However, some automotive experts do not advise replacing ball joints individually because this can jeopardize your car's suspension system altogether. And so control arm assembly replacements would have to be purchased in some instances. Luckily, though, you can still save on costs by doing the replacement yourself. Ball joint installation is a moderate DIYer task that might only take up to three hours of your time.