Hi All. I have a 2001 Dodge Stratus, 2.7L V6 with about 140K miles. I recently took it in for some suspension work-- replace struts, bushings, and insulators. It still had the original components, or what was left of them. When they did a general inspection, they told me I should also consider replacing my ball joints.
I had taken the car to three different mechanics in the past year, including the current guys, for various things (new tires, new alternator, general service), and none of them had mentioned anything wrong with my ball joints. When I asked the current guy if it was a safety issue, he insisted it was not, twice, and said that I could delay this (after I became skeptical of paying $600+ on top of the $1100 they were charging me for the other stuff).
Now I’ve lost all peace of mind. I’ve heard horror stories of ball joints going bad and wheels coming off, but I can’t get over the gut feeling that I was being upsold unnecessary repairs. For the past 40K or so, the car was mostly driven on freeways, straight driving, nothing fancy. Likewise, I feel like I would have gotten some mention of my ball joints from the other mechanics, or from these guys when they were putting on new tires just a few months ago.
He showed me that the ball joint on the rear tire was a bit loose when he wiggled the wheel while it was up on a lift, and given the age of the car, I’m sure they’re not perfect. But is this something I should be concerned about? Should I get a second opinion on the next service (~3 months), or try to save on labor and have them switch them out now? Also, is it normal for ball joints to wear out at this mileage/age, especially since I’ve been driving on a shot suspension for a few years now?
Appreciate any advice.