CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Honda Accord Ball-Joints

Our 1999 Honda Accord’s front passenger ball joint failed catastrophically (blow-out on freeway) a couple of years ago. We placed it, using a Honda dealer. Now they say we have to replace it again! The car only has about 120,000 miles and is only driven on paved city roads. Is this legit, or did they give us a defective ball joint the first time around and so therefore THEY should pay for the second?

How aggressively are you driving?? Wifes 96 Accord had original b-joints and were fine when we sold it with about 220k miles on it. I’m amazed the first set failed…and REALLY AMAZED the second set failed.

As for them paying…NO…I’m pretty sure you well past the warranty on the replacement parts. You can try though.

What “blew out?” The tire or the ball joint?

I’ve had to replace a ball joint on my '97 Accord at about 70,000 miles.

Are you sure it’s the same ball joint you replaced before? At what mileage was the first joint replaced?

First, the ball joint failed and the wheel fell off the first time (on a freeway onramp, going under 55 mph). My partner drives the car, and he’s the original by-the-book driver: never over speed limit, etc. I’d say we’ve put 20,000-30,000 miles on the second ball joint. We DO live in Wisconsin, which has had more potholes as a result of 1-1/2 colder-than-usual winters – which, btw, is what the dealership said: more ball-joints are failing because of the weather/roads.

Before thinking that you’re being ripped off maybe you should consider the fact that your car has FOUR ball joints; an upper and a lower on each side.
So. Same one failed or not?

If you were having a ball joint problem a few years ago then the prudent thing to do is replace all four. If one is that bad, odds are the others are not far behind.

Also keep in mind that one bad ball joint can cause some serious slamming of the suspension which will in turn beat another ball joint to death.
Weak struts can also destroy ball joints.

There is also a reason why part of a regular maintenance inspection includes checking the suspension components such as ball joints.

They forgot to grease the new ball joint.

I highly doubt that the Honda dealer that replaced the ball joint reinstalled an OEM type where it has no grease fitting. But instead purchased an aftermarket ball joint from a local supplier that comes with a grease fitting. When you purchase these aftermarket ball joints, there’s only enough grease in the ball joint to prevent the friction surfaces from corroding. It’s the responsibilty of the technician to pack the ball joint once installed to make sure enough grease has been injected to protect the friction surfaces. If this isn’t done, the shipping grease isn’t enough to protect it from the elements. And this results in short ball joint life. Especially if there’s salt and sand on the roads.

Tester

Get a second opinion from an independent mechanic or suspension specialist. If this is the same ball joint, and if they did as Tester suggested, then you don’t want them working on your car again. Second, aftermarket suspension parts generally come with a lifetime parts warranty, and that is why I never let a dealer work on my suspension. The vast majority of dealers will not warrant a part for as long as you own the car, but that is fairly standard in the suspension aftermarket.

Clarify which ball joint went out, and then act accordingly. I still think a second opinion is in order, regardless.

I did many BMW ball joints while in WI (Concours Mtrs. Milwaukee) and my tech friend here in AZ did minimal,there is something going on in WI. with ball joints.

Salt on the roads can be a big factor in how long ball joints last but it would help to know if it’s the same joint that failed.

So how about it? Same joint or not?