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Honda ball joints

I recently took my 2003 Honda Civic in for routine maintenance. I was told I needed two new ball joints. The mechanic showed me a crack in the boot surrounding the ball joint and said that grease had leaked out of the joint. We did not see a crack in the other one but it certainly looked like it could soon have a crack. Knowing nothing about ball joints I wonder if I need to replace the ball joints or just get a new “boot” or covering for the joints. I have had no symptoms or sounds of ball joint problems so am a bit leery about spending the estimated $400. Would really appreciate advice. Thanks

It’s never a good idea to re-boot ball joints. Dirt and other tiny abrasive things can get in there, and damage the joint. The amount of trouble to get at them is almost the same as the trouble to just change the boot, so there’s no real savings, either. The joints themselves aren’t that expensive, but you’re paying for his time to get in there and do the work.

I think if you ask him about just re-booting the joints you’ll get a similar answer, and very little cost saving.


Common Honda problem. Get a second estimate from another mechanic but $200 each is pretty close to right. You might find someone who will do it for $150 each.

You need new ball joints, not just boots. You can’t “cheap out” on this, it’s a safety issue.

"Common Honda problem."

I didn't think Hondas had any problems, let alone common ones.



I agree with CSA here. Unlike CV joints, I have seen ball joints last a long time after the boots crack, so I wouldn’t rush into replacing them until another problem shows up. We still have the original ball joints on our 97 Accord, 175k miles.

Let me rephrase…Common Honda problem on newer Hondas. My old Accord is needing its first ball joint at 187,000 miles. My Honda mechanic said this is much more common on the newer models. I hope not since I also own a 2008 Accord. Sigh…

I think CSA is jesting about the Asian car myth and the phenomenon that you never hear about any problems with any Hondas or Toyotas. In my experience, there are plenty of common Honda problems, people just don’t seem to complain about them, even when they are disastrous or expensive. Common Honda problems I have observed: CV joints, ball joints, noisy strut mounts, EGR issues (mostly on older Accords), no such thing as a non-interference four cylinder, main relay issues, distributor/igniter issues, power window motors, and the famous $4k+ Odyssey transmission nightmares. In this case, “common” is defined as seeing the same issue more than a few times within a few years in a general repair shop.

As far as the OP’s issue, are you sure they did not say CV joints? A cracked boot allowing all the grease to leak out sounds more like a selling point for a CV joint than a ball joint.

Gee Mark…

We’ve owned 2 Accords …both with well over 300k miles and NEVER had ANY of those “Common” problems you said.

Now my last GM I owned had almost ALL those problems…BEFORE it reached 100k miles.

Mark, partly agree with MikeInNH here. You list a lot of “common” problems here, but many are not common on Honda’s.

CV joints, distributor/ignitor are common on Toyota’s. Power window motors (linkage and not motor) on Mitsubushi. Upper ball joints on a limited number of Honda Accords and main fuel pump relay on Honda’s in general.

Mike, we have had three Honda’s, none of the problems listed above, but I have one Saturn that has been more reliable than any of the Honda’s. Not that the Honda’s had a lot of problems, but the Saturn had fewer than any of the Honda’s, Toyota’s, or Nissans we’ve had. Might have just got lucky with the Saturn.

Shot By Your Own gun ! He, He ! See How It Goes ? The Problems People Pin On Ameican Cars Are Problems I Never Encounter. No Car Could Be More Durable And Reliable Than All The GM And Chrysler Cars I’ve Owned In The Past 25 Years.
Sorry, but it’s funny.

Keith knows what I’m talking about, I’ll bet. I call it the Asian Car Myth.

As someone who spent quite a few years working on Asian cars (Subaru, Nissan, Honda) at the dealer level and everything else as an independent, of course every make has common problems.

Pick any make and model of car out there and work on them month in and month out.
You WILL see commonality when it comes to problems no matter what badge is on the tail end.

We had a 2008 accord and we have a 2009 pilot . We had problems with both. We had an oil leak on the pilots block that took like 3 days to repair. To be honest I’m not impressed with either Honda.

“No Car Could Be More Durable And Reliable Than All The GM And Chrysler Cars I’ve Owned In The Past 25 Years.”

Oh PLEASEEEEEE… Not even a contest.

From the sound of things, I have had outrageously good luck with all the cars I have owned, all from Detroit’s “big three” and Consumer Report’s “cars to avoid” while some others have had less than stellar luck with Consumer Report’s “best bets”. Interestingly enough, some of the best and most reliable cars I have ever owned have been what some people consider to be the worst cars ever made: GM vehicles from the '80s and '90s. I have never had bad luck with one, and they have outshined many a Honda and Toyota in the reliability department, and have been much cheaper and easier to repair and maintain.

I also remembered another common issue with Hondas that will be completely undeniable to anybody who has owned one made prior to the late 1990s, or spent any time in the repair business, and that is the exhaust systems. I have replaced literally hundreds of exhaust systems on Hondas in my time as a mechanic, and watched dozens of Honda owners cringe at the cost of replacing this system every few years. While the domestic automakers have been using stainless steel exhaust systems for over thirty years, Honda just started doing this in the late 1990s.

I’ve had great luck with domestic cars and so have all of my relatives and in-laws. The majority of my in-laws use a number of their vehicles for business purposes also and racking up 300-450k miles on a vehicle is pretty common.
They’ve been doing this for going on 40 years and one thing they would not do is buy junk vehicles because of the bottom line.

Note that many people who will bash a domestic car for a problem (say a suspension component) will become an apologist for an Asian vehicle that suffers the same problem.
Chevrolet or Ford has a bad ball joint, it’s a crummy car. Honda or Toyota has a bad ball joint then it’s neglect by the owner.

“Note that many people who will bash a domestic car for a problem (say a suspension component) will become an apologist for an Asian vehicle that suffers the same problem.”

Actually I see just the opposite…I can’t tell you how many times my brother-in-law told me how reliable his Taurus was…even after he spent THOUSANDS each year just keeping it running…

As for Ball-joints…Chevy does have a KNOWN problem with ball-joints on their SUV’s…it’s a known problem…I’d be willing to bet there are 3-5 times more ball joints replaced on a Chevy SUV then Toyota and Nissan SUV’s combined. Last friend of mine who owned a Chevy SUV…by the time it reached 150k miles…he had replaced the ball-joints 3 times…

Just to try to introduce some slightly more moderate comments to the extreme comments regarding Asian vs. domestic brands, I can tell you that I did have a '92 Accord, bought new and meticulously maintained. Although I never had to replace the exhaust system, despite doing lots of local driving in that period of time, I did have recurring problems with the EGR and I did have to replace ball joints on the car.

By contrast, the Taurus that I owned prior to the Accord had only a few (warranty-covered) sensor replacements during the first 2 years, and then–the biggie–a rotted-out heater core in year 5. Overall, the Taurus was a solid, reliable car.

After the Accord, I bought an Outback, as a result of moving to a rural area with delayed road plowing in the winter. That '97 Outback was essentially flawless during the 5 years that I owned it, and that led to me buying another Outback, in '02, which was almost as flawless. That led to my purchase of a 2011 Outback, and while the jury will be out for a while regarding its long-term reliability, its initial quality is the best of any new car that I have ever owned.

All of that being said, the absolute worst piece of crap that I ever owned was a '74 Volvo. That one was so bad–in almost every area of the car–that it made my '81 Chevy Citation (one of the notorious X-cars) look good by comparison!

So–I agree that every make has its Achilles Heel(s), and that no make is immune to problems, no matter what the cheerleaders for that make might claim. I have had troublesome foreign cars, and troublesome domestic cars, but–in balance–I have to say that my Japanese cars have been the best of the lot, with my 3 Subarus being superior to my Honda in overall reliability.

Time for another argument?

Either we’ve had really good luck or the Asian (American Made) vehicles we’ve owned were a fluke…

Wifes 96 Accord which we sold at 10/yrs and over 220k miles…we had a total of $4 in repairs (beyond normal maintenance). We gave it to our niece…and her first repair was a starter when the car was 15 years old and had over 280k miles. Last American vehicle I owned that came close to that reliability was my 67 Malibu SS.

The MOST expensive Asian (American Made) vehicle we ever owned was my 98 Pathfinder…But for the years and years we owned it and it having almost 400k miles…I put a total of less then $1500 in repairs (beyond normal maintenance).

People are going to stick with what works for them…I stuck with GM for YEARS…They worked for me from the 60’s through the 70’s…then I couldn’t afford them anymore…

I’m NOT about to change back…unless my Asian vehicles start giving me problems…As long as they’re reliable…I’m not about to try an unproven (reliability speaking) vehicle. I don’t have the time or money to waste.