Front end Lower Ball Joint

Hello all,

We have a 2001 Honda Civic that was just serviced at the dealership for its routine 90K mile service. During the check up they strenuously suggested that we replace the front end lower ball joints as they were worn out and had too much play in them. They showed us that if you stick a long crow-bar below the ball joint and tried to move it up and down it moved and inch or so (too much in their opinion). They said they could replace the ball joint, knuckle and bearings for $1130, so I decided to get a second opinion from a local Firestone dealer. They inspected the entire front end and said that there was nothing wrong. Two different repair places, two very different answers so who are we to believe? So the questions are should we fix the car or not and is the car safe to drive? If you have any thoughts or opinons please let me know!

Thanks so much,


Get a third opinion.Any noises or vibrations that you notice? Tires wearing OK? Dont mention the previous mechanics recomendations to the third mech.Go to a independant (best one that specializes in Hondas) and ask for a used car/safety inspection.You may have to get a fourth inspection.Be prepared

Honda ball joints are not prone to wearing out. They often last 300k miles or so. And, ball joints are not checked with a crow bar. I don’t know what moved an inch or so, but if the halves of the ball joint moved an inch apart, the ball joint would be broken, not just worn. If they used the crowbar to move the control arm up an inch or so, but both halves moved together, then the ball joint is ok.

The knuckle and wheel bearings do not have to be changed with the ball joint, they are all separate pieces, and the steering knuckle is nothing but a solid chunk of cast iron that is virtually indestructible. If I were you, I would find a good independent mechanic that is familiar with Hondas and forget about this dealer. If you can’t find a good independent, at least go to the general manager of the dealership and tell him about this and that you believe the service manager might be alienating his customers with bogus repairs. Customers that get stuck with too many high repair bills will likely change brands next time.


that would show up with the car on the lift,hand movement.
thats not an SLA .system,an inch or so, is very funny though.

zero tolerance.

Years ago Sears Automotive tried this crowbar stunt on me to buy their ball joints. I politely begged off and had them checked by an independent mechanic who said they were good for another 50,000 miles at least.

On my wife’s Nissan, at 120,000 miles the original front end parts are all still in good shape. Agree you should get a 3rd opinion since 90,000 miles is not enough on a Honda to wear out the ball joints. If the joint was DAMAGED by a rock or parking barrier, that would be another matter.