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Bad ball joints?


In July of 2016 I took my pickup to the shop to have some maintenance work preformed. This isn’t a shade tree mechanic. This business is a franchise. There’s many of these independently owned shops all over the US. They recommended replacing the lower ball joints. I told them to do the work. In Dec. of '16 I noticed the inside of my front tires were worn a lot compared to the rest of the tire surface. I took my truck to Firestone on 12/30/16 in search of new tires and for an alignment because I thought that was the problem. They (Firestone) told me my ball joints needed to be replaced. With that news I drove to the shop who originally replaced them. I had my paperwork from the work preformed at home so I asked for a print out for everything done on my truck at their shop. It showed that the ball joints were replaced roughly 5 months prior. I told them what Firestone told me and they made a copy of the paper from Firestone suggesting I replace the ball joints. I scheduled an appointment with the original shop and rented a car. Several days later they said the ball joints were fine. I have dealt with this business for about 8 years so even though I was skeptical I accepted what they said and went on my way.
Today I took my pickup to NTB for an oil change. When they were finished they suggested replacing the ball joints in order to avoid excessive internal wear to the inside of my front tires. No kidding. That’s what they said. I was angry but calm. The ball joints (parts and labor) are warranted for 24 months. This is clearly written on the invoice from the shop that botched the job.
Is there anything I can do to make this business honor their warranty since two separate businesses have made the same discovery without any prior knowledge of my trucks history? Everything I mentioned took place in Texas. I’m out close to $1000 for parts labor and car rental. I also replaced the front tires for about $500. I just want them to fix my truck and cover the rental car. Thanks for any help and I apologize for being long winded.

You can present them with the evidence of two different businesses, and possibly take them to small claims court if they still refuse, although I doubt it’s worth the time/expense.

Long-term, your solution is to stop taking your car to so many different places for maintenance. Find one trustworthy mechanic for suspension, oil changes, tires, etc., rather than basing everything on (I suspect) the lowest price.

If anyone tells you your ball joints are bad they should be able to show you the movement and you should be able to see it no matter how untrained your eye.

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I dunno, two shops said they were bad and one said they were good and had been replaced. I had a ball joint fail after about three months. It was a Moog so replaced under warranty but still the question remains if they are bad or not. Someone needs to show you one way or the other but just because they were replaced does not mean they are still good.

FWIW, “your ball joints need to be replaced” is an old-time auto scam. It works because it’s safety-related, and the owner cannot directly check them without getting the car up in the air. My personal experience was that I bought a Contour, and was told (by Firestone, FWIW) it needed ball joints, so I had them done. Not six months later, THE SAME SHOP told me “you really need ball joints!”

(Boy, did they hem and haw when I showed my receipt!)

So, it’s entirely possible that BOTH Firestone and NTB are pulling your leg. For obvious reasons, I’m underwhelmed by FS; NTB is a very “corporate” business, and I imagine employees derive bonuses by how much they “upsell” customers.

Take it to a NON-chain independent as a “referee.” Let him know in advance you WON’T be using him for the work, so he won’t have any incentive other than to give you his honest opinion.

I’m Yeah, actually the shop I’m having a dispute with is on par with the Ford dealership in town on price. They have good reviews and I haven’t had problems until now. I just don’t take my truck there for minor issues like tires, oil change etc. Thanks for the comment.

Looks like it’s shot to me.

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That ball joint is completely shot and will make You (and maybe others too) statistical (sp) material quite soon. And where is the rubber grommet?
Please get this fixed asap.

Did you show them the video prior to them telling you it was fine?

I would recommend that you stay away from the shop that refuses to acknowledge and repair such an obviously dangerous failure of their repair.

No. I didn’t make the video until 2/13. I’m going there today to see what they say. So far they haven’t responded to emails that I sent with the video link.

I want them to fix it properly then I’m finished with them.

I was also curious about the missing boot. I think it’s a newly designed MOOG-K80149 with an " integral" boot. I don’t know how they failed so quickly. I just want my truck fixed. I’m on my way to the shop now to show them the video. They’ll probably say, " Are you going to believe me or your lying eyes." I hope they do the right thing.

I’ve actually installed that type of Moog ball joints, with the integral boot, many times in our shop, on various Ford and GM trucks, including some F-150s

Typically, when you correctly grease the zerks, the boot extends down considerably. I’m wondering if the shop even hit the zerks, when they initially installed them . . . ?

In any case, the ball joints are now shot. I’m in agreement with the other guys

I must be the king of scammers

Because I replace a lot of ball joints on our fleet vehicles

I’m clearly doing a lot of work that isn’t needed :smirk:

Somebody report me to the proper authorities :cop:

What can that shop say if/when the truck’s front end drops onto the road weeks after they repaired it and days after they inspected it and denied there was a problem?

That may be the case. Good point.