Buying Tips: Ball Joint Boot
Buying a replacement ball joint boot can sometimes be very difficult, especially if you don't know much about it. It's even more confusing once you enter the auto parts store because you get to see a lot of ball joints that vary in size, shape, and color. Deciding which ball joint boot to buy suddenly becomes a really tough job. To deal with the dilemmas of buying a ball joint boot, you can follow the following tips and advice.
Design or functionality?
Functionality should be the top priority. Boots need to be tough against heat, dirt, and friction in order to protect the ball joints. It's a must then to look for boots that are made from durable and heavy-duty materials. Polyurethane ball joint boots are better than rubbers because they possess both characteristics of metal and rubber; they can be very flexible and hard at the same time. Recently, ball joint boots in different colors like red and blue are becoming common in the market. If you want to add some style in your car, you can buy those colored boot, but do not compromise the functionality and quality.
Aftermarket or OEM?
Both are okay as long as you buy boots of the right size. Remember that the size of the ball joint differs from one car model to another, so you have to choose a boot that matches your vehicle's requirements. To get the right size, measure both the top and the bottom holes of the boot. Do not forget to take note of how much the boot expands when stretched; this piece is information is important to know if the boot can fit in the ball joint upon installation. Between aftermarket and OEM, the latter is more expensive. If you're on a tight budget, go for aftermarket ball joint boots.
- Buy ball joint boots that are sold in pairs or a set of four. Sets are cheaper compared to individual boots.
- When buying online, make sure that the e-commerce site you're looking at is authentic. Research on the name of the company and read consumer's reviews of purchased car parts to verify the authenticity of the site.
Boots Made for Driving: Replacing Ball Joint Boots
Boots-whether they're made for walking or driving, they get all worn out in time. In the case of ball joint boots, extreme road conditions such as heat and friction cause them to deteriorate. If not replaced immediately, these broken boots can cause more troubles in your car especially in the ball joints. If taken for granted, you might need to change not only the boots, but also the expensive joint. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Replace the ball joint boots in your car today.
Difficulty level: Moderate
- Car jack
- Vice or C-clamp
- Flat wide chisel
- 30 mm-12 point socket
Step 1: Lift the front part of the car using a jack. Secure the back wheels and prevent them from moving by putting some blocks. Wear gloves before working to protect your hands from grease.
Step 2: Remove the front wheels by loosening the lug nuts. Place the nuts in a safe and dry place. Make sure you don't lose them.
Step 3: Take the cotter pin out. Put the jack near the ball joint assembly for support and easy access. Now, locate the ball joint boot. This is a black-colored rubber that wraps around the ball joint.
Step 4: Take the ripped and old boot out. Use a vise and hold the area between the boot and the actual ball joint. Take a chisel and move it around the boot. Pry the edges carefully. Just continue doing this until the boot pops out of the ball joint.
Step 5: Once the broken boot is out, clean the area around the ball joint. Check if there is enough grease around. If the grease is old and full of dirt and other debris, replace it with a fresh one.
Step 6: It's time to install the new ball joint boot. Get your socket and put some lube around. This way, the boot will slide out of the socket easily. This can also protect the boots from tearing apart.
Step 7: Put the ball joint boot into the socket. Push it slowly all the way down.
Step 8: Attach the ratchet to the socket and install the new boot. Use the vise for support. Slowly insert the boot around the ball joint. Make sure to tighten it. Place the boot firmly around the ball joint. Loosen the vise gradually.
Step 9: Repeat the same procedure to change the other ball joint boots. Once you're done, return the wheels.
That's all you need to do to change the ball joint boots. Have fun and good luck on your replacement task.