Ball joints and tires

Are there upper & lower ball joints on a 98 Buick Regal?

Also, is there such a thing as a “belt” slipping in a new tire? A mechanic told me I needed to return the tire because he thought that may be what’s wrong with my front end.


No, there is no such thing as a slipped belt in a tire.

What you really have is irregular wear - and that’s caused by misalignment - and that’s caused by the worn ball joints you mentioned.

“Belt slipping” is a misnomer. However you should go and have the tire checked inside and out by the dealer you bought them from. It is possible to have defects in the tire that cause drivability issues that some tire techs call “slipped belts or slipped plies”.

However, the ball joints are real and probably should be replaced also. The tire dealer can determine if there is an issue with the tire. If so, it may be replaced under a prorated warranty.

This happened on my 98 Windstar, at slow speeds (~15 to 20 mph) the steering wheel would move back and forth. The mechanic checked the tires and found one with a “slipped belt”. The tire was a few years old at the time. I replaced the tire and the van drove fine after that.

Ed B.

To answer your first question, I believe this vehicle probably has a McPherson’s strut front end and so only has a lower ball joint.