What Does A Broken Ball Joint Sound Like

Car ball joint

If you’re worried that your car’s ball joint might be broken, it’s important to know what to listen for. A ball joint is a crucial component of your car’s suspension system, and if it fails, it can lead to a dangerous situation on the road. In this article, we’ll discuss what a broken ball joint sounds like, so you can recognize the symptoms and take action before it’s too late.

What is a Ball Joint?

Ball joint anatomy

A ball joint is a spherical bearing that connects the control arm to the steering knuckle or spindle. It allows the steering and suspension to move and flex while still maintaining control of the wheel’s movement. Ball joints are typically found on cars with independent front suspension systems, and they come in various designs and sizes depending on the make and model of the car.

Signs of a Broken Ball Joint

Ball joint failure

When a ball joint fails, it can cause a variety of issues with your car’s handling and safety. Here are some signs that your ball joint might be broken:

  • Clunking or rattling noises coming from the front suspension
  • Uneven tire wear or tire wear on the inside edge of the tire
  • Pulling or drifting to one side while driving
  • Steering wheel vibration or wandering while driving
  • Difficulty steering or turning the wheel

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to get your car checked out by a mechanic as soon as possible.

What Does a Broken Ball Joint Sound Like?

Car ball joint sound

One of the most common signs of a broken ball joint is a clunking or rattling noise coming from the front suspension. This sound is often described as sounding like a metal-on-metal clunk or thump, and it may get louder as you drive over bumps or rough roads.

The sound is caused by the ball joint moving around in its socket, which can cause the control arm to hit against other suspension components. If the ball joint is completely worn out, it may even pop out of its socket, which can cause the wheel to collapse and the car to lose control.

How to Test for a Broken Ball Joint

Ball joint test

If you suspect that your ball joint might be broken, there are a few ways to test it. Here’s how:

  1. Jack up the car and support it on jack stands
  2. Wiggle the wheel back and forth with your hands while looking for any play in the ball joint
  3. If there is more than 1/8 inch of movement in any direction, the ball joint needs to be replaced

If you’re not comfortable performing this test yourself, it’s best to take your car to a mechanic and have them check it out for you.

How to Replace a Broken Ball Joint

Ball joint replacement

If your ball joint is broken, it needs to be replaced as soon as possible. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Remove the wheel and brake assembly
  2. Disconnect the ball joint from the control arm and steering knuckle
  3. Install the new ball joint and reassemble the suspension components

It’s important to note that ball joint replacement can be a complex and involved process, and it’s best to have a professional mechanic handle it for you.


When it comes to your car’s ball joints, it’s important to pay attention to any signs of wear or damage. By recognizing the symptoms of a broken ball joint and taking action to replace it, you can help ensure that your car stays safe and reliable on the road.

Related video of What Does A Broken Ball Joint Sound Like?