When changing the ball joints of your car, it's roughly the same with many other vehicles, from trucks to vans. Cleaning up your vehicle's wheels with products like KevianClean Wheel Cleaner might keep your wheels and tires from succumbing to the rigors of dirt and brake dust, but dealing with internal car parts like your car's ball joints requires more in-depth maintenance and repair knowledge.
You'll need supplies and tools like a ball joint press, ball joint separator, hammer, wrenches or sockets, needle-nose pliers, grease gun, various pry bars, auto jack or floor jack, jack stands, and chisel or pneumatic impact hammer with chisel.
How to Change Your Old Ball Joints
- Prepping Your Vehicle: Drive your car to the ramps then put chocks on your tires. Afterwards, loose your lug nuts on the wheels slightly, using only a quarter turn. Use the floor jack to raise your vehicle up and free up your tire. Remove the lug nuts all the way then remove the tire. Right behind your brake rotor are the ball joints.
- Get Out the Hammer: Once you have access to the ball points, use your pliers to remove the cotter pins. Loosen the castle nuts. Place your ball joint separate between the ball joint and the bottom of the steering knuckle. Remove the separator and place it at the upper ball joint. Afterwards, hammer away at the joint. Remove the nuts and the knuckle.
- Remove the Old Ball Joints: In most vehicles, the lower joint is pressed in and the upper joint is riveted. Remove the rivets or bolts from the upper joint before the joint itself is removed. Pry the pieces apart and punch out any remaining rivets. Use your ball joint press to cleanly remove the joint. Place the press adaptor atop the ball joint and hand turn the shaft until the assembly is seated. Use an impact wrench to turn the press's shaft.
- Install the New Ball Joints: Once you've removed the old joint, you can now install the new joint. Just remember to do the same joint removal techniques on the rest of the joint on your vehicle. When installing new joint using the ball joint press, take hour time to ensure hole alignment. This will reduce the torque required for installation.
- Bolt Everything Back Together: Once you've installed the joint, pressing it flush and bringing it into alignment, you can now put everything back together. Search for your vehicle's torque specs to know the torque required to reinstalling your wheel and tire back with a torque wrench. This prevents you from over-tightening those lug nuts. Get the cotter pins in, bend the free ends, and grease the joints before mounting the tire and setting your vehicle down.