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Automotive Q & A

Ball Joints

Question: How do ball joints work?

Answer: A ball-and-socket joint is a joint where a spherical head of one part connects to a spherical cavity of another. These joints allow for freedom of movement in all directions. We have ball-and-socket joints in our shoulders and hips. They allow our arms and legs to move in all directions. Now imagine if your body didn’t have any ball-and-socket joints. Your arm and leg movement would be very limited. The same thing applies to ball joints in vehicles. Ball joints are a flexible ball-and-socket joint that connect a vehicle’s control arms to the steering knuckles and act as a pivot point. Ball joints allow a vehicle’s suspension to move up and down, while also allowing the wheels to steer left or right. They are found on a vehicle’s front suspension because the front suspension is what allows a vehicle to make turns. Most front suspensions have one or two ball joints, and some rear suspensions may have ball joints also. Ball joints allow vehicles to carry heavier loads and to travel over all kinds of surfaces such as: over potholes, uneven surfaces, and over rocks/bumps. They allow tires to stay in constant contact with the road surface by allowing wheels to move up or down depending on the surface. The ball joints allow a wheel to stay in constant contact with these uneven surfaces while continuing to steer.

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