Checking grease in "sealed" linkage joints

I have a compact pickup (2WD,4 cyl, standard cab and bed). When I got it,I was assured that the grease seals on the suspension and steering linkage joints would last “forever”, but nothing was said about the grease inside. Indeed, the seals have held up amazingly, but I’ve been feeling changes in vehicle handling that give me worries that the grease is disappearing inside the seals.

A local auto parts shop has a thin needle grease gun attachment which can be used to insert replacement grease inside seals, but I don’t want to make a hole unless it is really needed. A hole will probably make necessary the routine greasing that I’ve been blessedly free of. How would you suggest that I can find out on my own, whether my joints do need more grease after more than 15 years of use?

Regardless of sealed joints, steering linkages and suspension joints take a lot of abuse. After 15 years it wouldn’t be unexpected to have to replace components even if the grease has not leaked out. I would suggest you have a competent shop assess the front end for wear and replace anything that is required (ball joints, tie rod ends, bushings etc). Shooting grease up into a worn joint is not going to solve the loose feel…

There is a company that will use an ultra sound device on your joints and give you a report, “google” it.

If you say that the seals have held up amazingly I have to assume that you say this by the absence of grease coming out. If that is so, then how would the grease “disappear”?

Like TwinTurbo said - intact grease doesn’t mean everything is ok with a joint.

Lifetime warranty, Lifetime achieved, Grease will not take the place or revive of worn parts. It appears you have some worn parts that need replacement.

When I had cars with greasable ball joints I never had to replace one, now with sealed ball joints they seem to last only 55 to 80 thousand miles.

Funny, my experience has been that they last about the same amount of time (over 100K miles) with the sealed grease, as the old ones that you had to grease with every oil change.
I have noticed that the rest of the car now lasts longer. Maybe your older cars didn’t last long enough to wear out any joints?

I have had good luck using a syringe made for printer cartridge ink…90W gear oil works as good as grease and is MUCH easier to install…

If the rubber boot appears to be collapsed and when pressed seems to have no grease in it I clean the most convenient location on the boot and paint a dot on it and prick the needle you described into the boot and grease it until grease is pushing back out around the needle. In subsequent service I keep the boot swelled. Most parts remain in tact until the car is junked. Often the boot deteriorates and the part fail quickly but boots are available. There is more than one way to skin a cat and more than one good method to maintain a car but those who, like you, make a great effort to keep them running well are usually quite successful regardless which method you prefer.

All the sealed ball joints on my Honda have made it 225k miles so far and are still fine (1989 model year by the way), I did have to replace the sealed tie rod ends at about 210k though. They can be made to last a while, then again i’m careful about avoiding potholes.