Guide To Ball Joint Replacement Costs

Guide To Ball Joint Replacement Costs

Replacing your vehicle's worn-out ball joints will help ensure your ride remains smooth and safe, but it can be more expensive than expected. 

In this ball joint replacement cost guide, we'll walk you through the process and help you make an informed decision that doesn't break the bank. Scroll down to get the lowdown ASAP. 

What is a ball joint? 

A ball joint is integral to a car's suspension system, connecting the steering knuckle or control arm to the wheel hub.  

To help imagine it easier, you could think of it like a shoulder socket and arm on the body. This connection allows for the movement of the suspension and wheels by providing a pivot point. 

How many ball joints does a car have? 

Depending on your car, you have two lower ball joints or four in total, with two upper and two lower ball joints. They both work together to keep steering reliable and responsive. 

Upper Ball Joints 

Upper ball joints are designed to reduce wear and tear on the steering wheel by absorbing any radial loads, such as turning forces, that occur when driving or taking corners. 

Ball joints use a follower design, which allows them to maintain alignment throughout the rotation of the steering knuckle. 

Lower Ball Joints 

The lower ball joint acts as a pivot point for the steering system. These can either be load-carrying or follower types, depending on the suspension design. 

Quick guide: Ball joint replacement cost in the UK 

The average cost of replacing a car's ball joints in the UK is around £75 to £180. The costs depend on the vehicle type and the ball joint being replaced. 

The cost of replacing ball joints also depends on the specific repair that needs to be done. Labour fees are a significant factor in the total cost, as more complex repairs may require specialised tools and experienced technicians. 

The type and number of ball joints being replaced will also contribute significantly to the total cost. Certain vehicles may have more than one ball joint that needs replacement, while other models may only need one.

Also, any additional parts used during the repair process, such as nuts and bolts or gaskets, must be considered when estimating overall repair expenses. 

Average ball joint cost by car make 

Ball joint replacement costs look different depending on your car manufacturer. Here’s a quick overview of some well-known brands: 

Manufacturer Ball Joint Cost
Audi £120 to £150
BMW £115 to £130
Ford £110 to £140
Mercedes £110 to £130
Peugeot £140 to £160
Renault £100 to £115
Vauxhall £100 to £120
Volkswagen £100 to £120

If you’re concerned about the cost of replacing your ball joints, then consider Bumper. Bumper is a pay monthly car repair finance provider, offering interest-free car repair loans.

Location vs ball joint replacement cost

Did you know your location can also affect your ball joint replacement costs? Mechanics in London and other big cities tend to charge more than those in smaller towns.  

Here’s a quick guide to UK places and approximate ball joint costs: 

Place Ball Joint Cost
London £115
Birmingham £100
Glasgow £105
Leeds £90
Bristol £115
Liverpool £110
Newcastle £140
Sheffield £95
Manchester £110

What are the signs of a bad ball joint? 

A bad ball joint can cause havoc. Here are the signs of a worn ball joint: 

  • Excessive vibration and clunking noises - These will be most noticeable when driving, particularly over bumps or uneven terrain. 
  • Worn down tyres - You might notice that tyres are wearing down unevenly or that alignment problems have started. 
  • Loose steering - You might also experience loose steering control while driving. 

If any of these symptoms arise, it is essential to get them checked out as soon as possible to avoid further damage and costly repairs. 

Even though there are definite warning signs to look out for, most worn ball joints get diagnosed during your MOT or routine service at the garage. 

What does a worn ball joint sound like? 

Ball joints cause loud clunking noises when driving over bumps or potholes or while turning. This is caused by metal rubbing against metal, as the ball joint is loose or worn out. 

If you're not the most experienced driver, you might find it easier to listen for audible indicators of a worn ball joint, as these are easier to identify.  

This noise indicates that it's time to replace your ball joints before they cause further damage. A mechanic can inspect and diagnose the issue quickly and easily, allowing you to determine if replacing your ball joints is necessary and how much it will cost. 

Which ball joints wear out first? 

The front ball joints usually wear out first.  

This is due to their location in the suspension system and their responsibility for providing steering capabilities. The stress of turning and manoeuvring puts more strain on the front ball joints than those at the back.  

There are two main types of ball joints - rubber and metal. Metal ball joints are considered more durable than rubber due to their hardiness, which also means they come with a higher price tag.  

Rubber is usually cheaper but may not last as long under intense conditions such as regularly going off-road or driving over rugged terrain. 

How long does it take to replace a ball joint? 

Ball joint replacement takes between two to four hours

The time required to change a ball joint can vary depending on how much work needs to be done and the mechanic's skill. 

Can you drive with failing ball joints? 

You shouldn’t drive with failing ball joints due to the increased risk of losing control. An unstable suspension connection can cause your steering wheel to shake or pull, as well as excessive tyre wear, which could lead to further damage.  

Driving with a failing ball joint is not only dangerous but also illegal in some areas; therefore, it is important to resolve the issue before continuing on your journey. 

If you must drive with a failing ball joint, stay within the speed limit and watch for any signs that the car is not handling correctly, like pulling to one side or vibrations in the steering wheel.  

You should avoid driving on highways and other high-speed roads and take special care when braking around corners. 

Is it worth replacing ball joints? 

Yes. While expensive, the cost of replacing ball joints is usually justified. These parts are essential for proper steering performance and ensuring your and your passengers' safety.  

Without functioning ball joints, it may become challenging to steer correctly or even dangerous if they are too worn out. 

Replacing them with new ones will restore the vehicle's handling characteristics to their original levels so you can drive safely again.  

Replacing defective ball joints early on can help prevent more extensive damage caused by other components wearing down prematurely due to misalignment in suspension geometry.  

Ultimately, while costly, replacing car ball joints will typically pay for itself in terms of improved driving experience and peace of mind when behind the wheel. 

Are ball joints easy to replace? 

Replacing a car's ball joints can be quite difficult, as they are located in the suspension system and have many intricate moving parts. It is essential to understand the complexity of this task before attempting it.  

Here at Bumper, we always recommend that you leave this job to an experienced professional who knows all about car suspension systems and has access to all the necessary tools. 

What happens during a ball joint replacement? 

Wondering what will happen during your ball joint replacement appointment? We’ve collected the main steps mechanics focus on to help you understand the procedure. 

  1. Your car is jacked and the wheels removed 
  2. The ball joints are inspected 
  3. Faulty ball joints are removed and replaced 
  4. General check of the surrounding components 
  5. The wheels are realigned  
  6. The suspension is checked and the mechanic test drives the car 
  7. Adjustments are made if necessary  

Should I replace all four ball joints? 

If the cost of parts and labour for all four exceeds your budget, you may only want to replace the faulty ball joints first. This will save you money in the short term while giving you time to save up for a complete replacement later on. 

However, if all four need to be replaced at once, then it’s advisable to do so as soon as possible since not doing so could cause further damage to other components of your car’s suspension system.  

Replacing them one at a time also allows you to spread out costs over a longer period of time, which can be helpful if finances are tight.  

Ultimately, when deciding between replacing all four ball joints at once or gradually, what matters most is that they are replaced before any further damage is done. 

How long do ball joints last? 

The average lifespan of a ball joint is between 50,000-70,000 miles, depending on use and maintenance. 

If your car is driven in rough conditions or not regularly serviced, its life expectancy may be lower than expected. Different types of vehicles can also have different lifespans for their ball joints. 

Regular maintenance checks are essential for keeping your car's ball joints functioning properly and extending their lifespan as much as possible. Attention to these details will help you get the most out of your vehicle's components and save some money in the long run. 

Ball joining replacement cost - Final words 

In conclusion, replacing your car's ball joints can be costly but necessary for safety and proper steering performance. It's critical to pay attention to signs of wear and tear to catch any issues before they become dangerous. 

How Bumper can help 

Bumper understands car parts are often the last thing you want to spend money on. Look after your car and your bank balance by splitting the cost or repairs into monthly instalments, interest-free.  

Choose a dependable dealership and access an interest-free car repair loan to be paid monthly. 

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