1999 Chevy S-10 Blazer ball joint help

I’ve had both upper and lower ball joints replaced twice in the past 3 years on the recommendation of my mechanic who tells me that “Blazers eat ball joints”. Can this possibly be true? Is every Blazer owner out there shelling out $500 every other year for ball joints or am I being taken for a ride?

I really appreciate any help or advice I can get on this.

How many miles are you getting on them and are you doing any mudding with the vehicle?

The replacement joints are generally better than the factory ones as most aftermarket ones are designed with grease zerks.

If you’re doing normal driving and having to replace joints every 20k miles or so I would be a bit skeptical about this.
A Blazer does not “eat” ball joints.

What are your symptoms? Loose ball joints usually rattle or knock, cause uneven tire wear, and also can cause a vehicle to wander on the roadway.

I bought my 2000 Blazer with 35k in Feb. 2003, it has about 84k at present. The suspension has zerk fittings on the components (ball joints, tie rods etc). The fittings are greased at each oil change (4k). I’ve had no problems with the ball joints, but I had to have the front wheel bearings (sealed) replaced at 65k (~$800). Parts for this vehicle are pretty expensive. I would think once the ball joints are replaced and greased on a regular basis they should last longer than 2 years.

Ed B.

You’re exactly right, especially with greasing them on that regular a basis.
No way in the world should greased ball joints be going bad in approx. 25k miles or so.

I can’t sit here and say your mechanic is a crook, but it sure does not sound good.
And of course, you really have no way of knowing for sure if the ball joints are even being changed.

Is there a particular reason your mechanic brings this up or is it just out of the blue?

First of all, thanks to everybody who replied. I’m not doing any out of the ordinary driving, no off road or mudding or anything. Strictly highway and local road driving; 10k miles/year or so. I didn’t experience anything out of the ordinary as far as handling or noises either. My mechanic recommended the replacements when I had the car in for annual PA state inspections. Judging from the responses I’ve been getting its time for a new mechanic.

This is a KNOWN problem with GM trucks. Been that way since the early 90’s. I’ve known several people who had to replace their ball joints 2-3 times in less then 100k miles.

I replaced them on a friends Blazer at 80k miles (it was the second time the ball joints needed replacing). But instead of buying OEM I bought Moog. He sold the truck with 140k miles and the ball joints were doing fine.

If you’re in the Philadelphia, I would recommend Rose Auto Service at,822 Bleigh Ave , Philadelphia, PA 19111 (215) 742-1199. They’re in “Mechanics Files” on the Car Talk home page.

That’s a problem with private inspections, some garages may be more motivated than others to find reasons not to pass a vehicle. I remember trying to get my 1969 Buick Skylark inspected (circa 1981), the first garage wanted $1100 to pass it. The garage across the street charged $200 to fix a leaky exhaust (a legit repair) that the first garage missed entirely.

Ed B.

You’re aware that GM probably did not manufacture the ball joints for this vehicle aren’t you? TRW is more than likely the OEM supplier, just like they are for Ford, Chrysler, and even some aftermarket joints that are branded with different names on the box.
TRW is reputable.

The OP has had them, allegedly, replaced 2 times already and it’s doubtful his mechanic went to a Chevy dealer for the parts anyway.
This deal stinks a bit.

At this point I’m trying to decide if I should get rid of the vehicle or not. I just can’t see sinking $500 on repairs every other year. Is this issue unique to GM or do all mid to full size SUVs have this problem? Once again, thanks to everyone who has replied. Its all valuable info.

You’re aware that GM probably did not manufacture the ball joints for this vehicle aren’t you?

Does it matter who manufactured it?? Do complain to GM or Chryco when their transfercase in their GM pickup has problems??? The transfercase is made by Chryco NOT GM.

The point is…GM has been installing BAD ball-joints for OVER 15 years…Doesn’t matter who manufacturers it…If there was a problem the GM should have fixed it YEARS ago.

I have a 99 Sonoma, same front end, 53 K still original ball joints. I grease them every 6K or 1 year which ever comes first. Next time they say it’s worn say show me, there are 2 ways to check.

I think you’re being had on this ball joint business and in spite of Mike’s comments, GM does NOT install bad ball joints in their vehicles.

He also claims the same thing about Fords and does not own either.

Bottom line? If Ford and GM used a bad ball joint that was prone to frequent and premature failure there would be TSBs and Recalls issued. If there is one out there, then a link should be provided.

One of my brothers in law actually owns 2 late 90s GM trucks, both Tahoes. One has a 175k miles on it and needs nothing and the other one did need a set of lower ball joints. However, the latter had well over 200k miles when this was required and considering the roadways here and the climatic conditions, along with some heavy commercial use, the ball joints are justified and do not signify a problem at all.

I don’t think you have a ball joint problem, but you may have an ethical mechanic problem.

And your response to the fact that TRW also provides ball joints to Honda, Nissan, and Toyota would be…

A TRW ball joint on a GM or Ford means it’s junk and a TRW ball joint on a Honda, Nissan, or Toyota means it’s a quality part that never goes bad?

Are you saying that Ford, GM, and Chryco are getting all of the factory seconds?

How can I check them without putting the truck up on a lift? Like I said in one of my earlier posts, I’m not getting any indication that there’s a problem. No handling issues or noises or anything. If I can check them myself without too much hassle then all the better.

I have an S-10 pickup. The lower ball joints went bad at around 60k, the wheels were visibly bowed out when the steering wheel was turned sharply. Went to a state inspection a year later and was told they were bad again. Went to a 2nd place and was told they were fine. I would suggest you just get a 2nd opinion. I have heard the GM ball joints are poor quality, my mechanic recommended replacing with MOOG/Federal Mogul ball joints.

Very cool. Many thanks for the info

TRW (makes good stuff) manufactures OEM ball joints for GM along with a number of other car makers.
There’s a multitude of reasons why a ball joint may fail prematurely and ball joint quality may not be the problem.

Crack in a dust boot will do it quickly as will rough roads or dirt ones along with driving through high water or in salty conditions that exist on many northern roads.

I constantly cringe every time I watch the news and see countless people motoring right on through water 4 inches deep; or 4 feet deep in some cases.
They do not realize that the lower ball joints are some of the lowest points on a vehicle and once submerged…how long does one figure a ball joint will last once muddy water seeps into the joint? Not long.

I have a 2000 blazer s10 that I have owned for almost two years now. I’ve had to replace the lower ball joints three times now. I take it to school, work and to the ski resorts. I have talked to alot of different mechanics and they are telling it is really common, “just a bad design.” Does anybody know of a better aftermarket ball joint?