Do my ball joints need to be replaced?

I’ve gonna to three different people and heard three different things… here’s a picture I tried to take.

You can’t tell just by looking at them. Unless they are actually falling apart. You have to check them for play. I’m sure someone come along and explain the procedure better than I can.

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Suspension isn’t rocket science, but it does hold your wheels on. If you’ve never done inspections before it is best that you have a knowledgeable mechanic show you how. If that can’t be done, find a reputable alignment shop and tell them you need an alignment. They will know if you have problems. Get recommendations from family friends and co workers.

What did each shop say?
What do you notice?

… which means not going to a franchise/chain-run place…


Yes, you can’t tell the condition of a ball joint from a picture. You have to jack the wheel up and test for it being loose. Are you getting front end noises? Actually I’d be more concerned about tie rod ends. And I’m a worry wart so I replace ball joints and tie rod ends all together. I did take a very worn ball joint apart once just to see. It had a lot of play in it but still had a long way to go before it would actually separate. I had a tie rod break after being only a year old though. Not fun but luckily had already crossed over the river bridge. I carry rope and life jackets now. You never know.

Thanks for all the replies everyone. It’s a 2012 Toyota Camry XLE.

I went to a Toyota dealer, alignment shop, as well as two mechanics. The Toyota dealer said I should get it replaced ASAP. The alignment shop and one of the mechanics said I can hold off for about 6 months. And the other mechanic also said to get them replaced (although he just looked at them - didn’t really test or touch anything).

I’m noticing some wobbling at very high speeds (80-90 mph) - but that’s my dad driving over the speed limit, not me LOL

For crying out loud !! Driving that fast with what might be a complete failure of your steering is just asking for trouble . Either have it fixed or park it.


I agree! But I’m not the one doing it LOL

No matter who is doing it it is plain stupidity as it could kill or hurt you and possibly others and is no laughing matter.


This is not a Laughing out Loud thing .


I think there is some miscommunication happening so please let me clarify.

Ever since the issue has been happening, we’ve been reluctant to use the car. But we still use it because 2 of the mechanics said it was ok. So whenever we drive the car, we don’t go past 50 mph.

However, when the issue started out in the beginning, we started to notice that the car was behaving strangely when it went up to 80mph. So ever since then, we haven’t done that anymore.

I think my previous posts made it seem like I’m regularly going 80-90mph, when that’s not the case. It only happened one or twice - which is when we noticed the issue and stopped.

So ALL the shops said fix them, they just differed in urgency. AND you are noticing problems. I’d get them fixed ASAP, and I’d do both sides.


Kk will do - thank you.

Also want to apologize to everyone else for the earlier miscommunication.

Now to 6 months for replacement, If you are going to keep the car might as well do it now.

Thank you!

Exactly. Being told that the car is good for 6 months doesn’t equate to “OK” .

How many miles on that Camry? the stabilizer links usually go bad early on these. It all depends on road condition. Ball joints are usually very long lasting…I have seen Camry reach 200k miles with original ball joints.Get another opinion on this.

A mechanic that tells you your ball joint are bad should be able to demonstrate the play in them to you.

I had a mechanic at a local tire chain where I bought tires tell me he could not do an alignment on my car because my ball joints were bad on my 92 Voyager. It had 72000 miles on it. He was much bigger than I, at least 6’ 5" and 275-399 lb. I asked him to show me and even though he was using a very large pry bar, I could not see any movement so I took it to my mechanic who said there was nothing wrong with the ball joints, so we went on an 8600mile trip.

The car went to the junkyard at 180000 miles many years later because of rust, still with the original ball joints. And I pounded that van so bad on washboard dirt mountain roads that I had to replace all the motor mounts.

Good advise. Many, many years ago I brought a car to Sears for something. The mechanic told me I needed ball joints. I declined repairs for a second opinion. She said it was too dangerous to drive away and that my wheel could fall off at any moment. I drove it 2 miles to another shop. They brought me to my car and put a pry bar to it, and even let me take a crack at it. No movement whatsoever. He said that wheel is secure but the ball joints should eventually be replaced because of damaged boot. Guess who got the work.