DIY Vehicle Ball Joint Replacement

Lead Image
  • 2-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 50-100
What You'll Need
New ball joint
A rag
Pry bar
Socket wrench
Car jack
Car manual

Ball joint replacement is a common mechanical issue that needs to be fixed. Ball joints can become worn down and need to be replaced. You can save some money by doing it yourself instead of going to a mechanic. Make sure you know what you are doing ahead of time. As with all mechanical jobs, consult the manual that came with your vehicle. It can be very satisfying to do it yourself when it comes to your car. But, if you do the work incorrectly it could end up costing you more money. You want to make sure that you are confident that you know what you are doing, so that your tire does not fly off going down the road.

1. Check the Ball Joint for Looseness

Close up of ball joint in a car

This can be accomplished by wiggling the tire to see if it moves and by sticking a pry bar under to see if it is loose. If it is loose then you will need to replace it. Double check once you get the car jacked up. It can be hard to tell when the car is on the ground.

2. Jack Up the Car

Man using jack to raise a car up

Place the jack under the car and raise it to where you can safely work the tire off without being cramped on the floor. Make sure you check that the car is securely on the jack stands and doesn’t show any sign of falling. If you have another person around have that person help you take the tire off.

3. Remove Bolts

Man removing bolts from car wheel for ball joint repair

You can try to unscrew the bolts that are holding the ball joint in. This may be difficult to do, but you can use a socket wrench to loosen the bolts. Once they are loose, unscrew them all the way off.

4. Remove Cotter Pin and Castellated Nut

Man removing cotter pin and castellated nut from car

You will now need to remove the pin and nut from the lower bolt. Clean up around where you removed it so you can see what you are working with. Discard the old pin before you continue.

5. Remove Old Ball Joint

Man removing old ball joint from car

To remove the ball joint you will need a hammer and a screwdriver or a similar tool you can use to pry the ball joint away from the control arm. Place the tool in between the control arm and ball joint and whack it with a hammer to dislodge the old ball joint. Pull it straight up and out of the control arm. Clean all the debris out from around where the old ball joint was.

6. Replace with a New Ball Joint

Man replacing ball joint on car

Drop the new ball joint down into the control arm. You will need to line it up where the old ball joint was.

7. Secure the New Ball Joint

Line the new ball joint up with the holes and replace the cotter pin and castellated nut. Screw the bolts back into the new ball joint, and replace the tires. Before you lower the car back down, check the new ball joint for looseness with the crow bar. Take the car off of the jack and you are done.