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Volkswagen Jetta Ball Joint

Markers That Point to a Bad Volkswagen Jetta Ball Joint

A ball joint is used for allowing free movement in the wheels. Combining the ball joints with the control arms enables the steering motion in the front end and the dampening of spring and shock absorbers at the same time. This system makes the vehicle more stable and easier to steer, compared to the older styles of suspension. The smoother ride also increases tire life, since the ball joint allows the vehicle to be adjusted to any kind of road. That's why it's very difficult to have a bad ball joint because this will undoubtedly affect the overall maneuverability and the suspension parts. Here are some markers that will show you if they are already in need of replacement.

Wheel play

Wheel play is an evidence of a broken ball joint because the ball joint already failed to respond properly in accordance to the movement of the steering wheel. This is caused by a loose or failed ball joint, which will make the wheels lean to a single direction or travel to different directions. This heightens the probability of accidents occurring so make sure that the ball joints are replaced as soon as possible.

Irregular camber wear

Irregular camber wear is probably one of the most glaring symptom of a ball joint that is about to fail. What happens is the ball joint will first lose its stability and then the tires will slowly angle away from the proper camber alignment. This positions the tires awkwardly, and as a result, premature tire wear is significantly represented. Continued use of the vehicle will lead to total loss of control until the tires explode. Once this happens, replace the ball joints and have your camber aligned in the correct position.

Unsettling noise coming from the wheels

Another obvious indication of a bad ball joint is the noise coming from the area around the wheel. A popping, snapping, or squeaking sound will slightly be unnoticeable until it becomes more prominent. Dryness in the ball joints causes this sound to be produced. Proper lubrication is important so that the ball joints wont gnash against itself. Furthermore, the friction that was created by this will prematurely wear down the ball joints. This might lock the wheels up, preventing it to be maneuvered.

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    The ball joints are key components in the suspension, especially in the front end, because it directly influences the steering of the vehicle. The ball joint connects the steering linkage and the axle assembly. Ball joints are present in all kinds of vehicles, from sedans to trucks. These pivots are made from strong steel but these will eventually fail at some point in time. There are several signs you can look for to know when the ball joints are bad. Nevertheless, the ball joints should be inspected on periodically.


    Do a physical examination.


    A physical examination of the ball joints is a good way to start in the proper maintenance routine, especially when you're not too familiar with special tools. For this one, you only need a good pair of eyes and a flashlight. Just lift the front end of the vehicle and use the flashlight to check for any cracks or leaks. Look out for a flat or collapsed rubber boots on the upper and lower ball joints. This means they have lost grease from the inside. If there are any leaks, replace the ball joints right away.


    Use the dial indicator.


    This might be a little tricky but with enough practice, you can do this maintenance routine without a sweat. Like examining the ball joint parts, the vehicle needs to be up in the air, not touching the ground. Place the dial arm on the bottom of the wheel rim and then rock the wheel in and out of its position. The dial indicator should get a reading for the movement of the upper and lower ball joint. The result is different for every vehicle so consult the owner's manual for the proper readings. A higher reading means the ball joints are too loose and wheels are already experiencing wheel play.


    Take the vehicle for a spin.


    By driving the vehicle, you will be able to know if the ball joints are having problems. These problems manifest through squeaking noises and a difference in steering. Noises tell either a loose or dry ball joints. Drive the car over uneven surfaces in varying speeds to make sure that the ball joints won't produce that noise. If ever noises do indeed come out, change the ball joints. If you're going to replace the ball joint for the first time, try to replace all four because the others might not be far behind. Usually, the ball joint declines at around 80,000 miles.