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Replaced lower ball joints on Honda last month, wheel fell off today

I need advice. I just put $900 in this car since Dec 11. That’s the date i got the new ball joints.
Prior to that i got both lower control arms done too.
Latest work was 4 days ago. Same guy put on brakes, rotars, and calipers. I’ve also had the cv axels done $480
This morning while going straight down a road about 50 mph my wheel fell off while my mom was driving. She’s okay. Car isn’t. There is more damage now than the ball joints. Mechanic who did it seen the pictures. He said the parts must have been faulty and we have to call the ppl he bought the parts from. It’s at another shop being assessed. I’ll know more tomorrow hopefully. What should i do?! Im poor. Have no more money and just scraped that last 480 together so id have a safe car for my family. I’m feeling really discouraged. Now a single mom is without a car to get to work.

“he bought the parts from”
This is cartalk, not legaltalk, but I would consider a lawyer or small claims court. In my opinion he should guarantee the labor and he should enforce the warranty from the parts supplier.
I hope you have an itemized receipt for the work he did.


It’s hard to tell from the picture but it looks like the lower ball joint just broke. Most likely from a casting defect. What year, model Honda and number of miles on it.

When a new part fails, the manufacturer will replace that part under warranty.

If the failure of that part results in extra labor to replace it, or results in damage to property when the part fails, that’s not covered by the warranty of manufacturer of that part.


If the ball joint failed, either by broken casting or a snapped stud, it seems the stud should still be in the control arm (unless the nut/stud was sheared off when/if it hit the ground). It would be nice to see if any of the ball joint is still in the knuckle.
This looks like maybe the nut came off the stud and it separated from the control arm. If that’s the case, this could be a workmanship issue rather than a part issue.

Thank you for that input. That’s the kind of info i was going for.

Thats crazy that they aren’t liable for the damage that resulted because of their faulty part…

184,000 but it had the engine replaced at one point. It is still a really decent car.

I was installing a ball joint in a really decent car when the stud broke off while tightening the nut.

My car!

The problem is in the ball section of the joint.


Yes, and that is the risk you take when doing a DIY repair, or paying a shop for labor only, and providing the part(s) yourself. When paying a professional shop for the complete repair, which includes parts, labor, and diagnostic time, a reputable shop would warranty the labor. This would include any additional labor due to consequential damages caused by the failure of defective/substandard/improperly installed parts supplied by the shop.


This wasn’t diy. I didn’t buy the part. The Mechanic did everything.

Seemed like a reputable shop. Its a privately owned shop though.

If you can get a better picture of damaged side on your car, can you please do that, covering this area in more details:

it would tell a lot if that part still has bolt and threads or not

if yes => this is clearly craftsmanship fault, otherwise => part failure

I looked at the picture again, more closely. It’s a bit blurry. I can’t tell if there is anything still in the control arm hole.

Yes i will go get better pictures tomorrow morning and post them. Thank you so much for the info.

I’m guessing the best path is what’s happening, allow your shop to have the part assessed by a separate shop. If the part-analysis shop says it was a faulty part, the part’s supplier or part’s manufacturer will likely pitch in w/an offer to help of some kind.

So where does the money come from to pay for this? Have your ever placed a bet with a bookie? You know then that the bookie takes a percentage of every winning payout right? Same sort of thing with shops. Every customer is placing a bet that the shop will be able to fix their car correctly. And each customer pays a small hidden fee for this assurance. Then when something goes astray like this, there’s a fund in place to pay for making the customer whole. Shop vigorish.

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Clarify the timing here. Did he replace the CV axles in this last repair, after the one where he replaced the ball joints?

Because you generally need to separate that balljoint to get the axle installed, which is another potential point of failure for the joint. Especially if you forget to re-install the nut.

This is what I suspect from the very edge of the initial picture, I think I see the threaded end still pointing down, but it is only few pixels, so it is not clear.
That’s why I asked @lkuzma86_162647 to give us better picture of the area.

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If you blow the image up, you can see the stud broke off the ball joint.

The ball portion is still in the control arm.


Also- fill in the timeline a bit more:

–Lower control arms replaced: ?? (were ball joints replaced when control arms were? or did we reuse ball joints?)
–Lower ball joints replaced- Dec 11, 2019
–CV axle replaced: ?? (4 days ago? sometime previously?)

I agree with above in saying it may be time to talk to a lawyer. I would also consider damage done by the tow truck driver placing the hook around the struts…