Torn lower ball joints? Front end links?

2000 Acura Integra 100k miles

Have u had any of this done before?

I hear that these are not critical. Any tips to repair these inexpensively? Are these sign for some further repairs on suspension/ front end?

I don’t know what Front end links issue is? The advicer was not able to explain.

Lower ball joints are absolutely critical. They are one of three ball joints that hold the front wheel in place, and the most critical of two that holds up that corner of the car. A torn boot allows dirt and crud to get into the joint and allows grease to escape. Combined, the joint wears out quickly. The end links are also critical for vehicle stability. At 14 years of use, they probably need to be replaced. The only cost savings I can offer is to go to another shop and get a second opinion. Try a shop that also does alignments, since you will need one.

Thanks @BustedKnucklesBustedKnuckles

Adviser said Lower ball joints are torn and grease is leaking. So what needs to be changed here? Also what needs to be changed for “Front end links” - this seems a part than an issue? What needs to be changed and why?

It’s a 15 year old car with 100K. That is your sign that further front end work will be coming your way. Are the tie rod ends original, for instance? If so, then they probably won’t be for long. But as BustedKnuckles implies, the condition of the boots & grease are a large factor. If boots are kept intact and joints greased things last a lot longer.

The only way to keep the expenses down is to do the work yourself. Sway bar end links are usually well within reach of anyone who isn’t all thumbs. Ball joints - those can be bad. Since you are confused about what these things are, it might not be time to embark on DIY front end work yet. If you’re thinking about it you need a repair manual.

Allow me to suggest that because of the safety criticality of these repairs, and because of the nature of your question which suggests that your field of expertise lies in something other than mechanics, you should get this work done by a competent shop. They’ll have the expertise and the tools to do the job properly and make the repair safe. My guess is that even if you decide to do the work yourself you won’t have the tools.

You may want to get a second opinion from a shop that CAN explain the problems to you, and even show you while the car’s on the rack. The work won’t be inexpensive, but you’re talking hundreds of dollars and not thousands of dollars. It’s worth it for a safe vehicle.

Sincere best.

Thanks @mountainbike and all others.

I totally agree. The parts are not expensive. I have a life time wheel alignment. I will go the the ex-Honda m/c for a second opinion and go from there.

All parts are factory on this car, except for the radiator - timing belt was changed but with Honda parts.

Prob week after next I will take it to m/c

Worn out front end components like ball joints, swaybar links and others are common on a car of this age. If you are trying to save money you can purchase parts at a huge savings on places like and find someone to provide only the labor component. Perhaps there is something you do that you may be able to barter with a mechanic for.

I went to my mechanic, a former Honda m/c and a trustworthy. The earlier diagnosis was given to me by an Acura Dealer when I went for an oil change with a coupon.

Only thing my m/c saw was grease leak on the top ball joint. He just wiped it and said just keep driving and only time I need to do something is if I hear squeaking noise.

While Acura Dealer did fine oil change, they came up with a few things including potential oil leak - all summed up to almost a $1k. Believe someone said this is to expect and all what I wanted was the dealer to not break anything deliberately in my car. The dealer also has great reviews on Yelp. I am not sure where they came up with and they never showed it to me while I was waiting there. My m/c did.

There’s a bit of bad advice given to you by the independent mechanic. The bit about “just keep driving and only time I need to do something is if I hear a squeaking noise” is misguided.
A ball joint can be dangerously bad and not squeak at all. Some joints may not even knock or rattle when they’re faulty.

Ball joints should be checked for looseness and it’s also possible to have bad ball joints with no slop in them at all.

If grease is coming out of the top joint then one has to wonder if the dust boot has dry rotted. Grease out also means dirt and water in and the joint’s days are numbered; or already has been.

Was the ball joint boot torn? Did you m/c do a test to see if there was any slop in the joint? A ball joint with slop is a worned out joint, no matter the condition of the boot.

14yr old integra. I vote for newer car.

I think a lot of the potential mis-information given here is simply because none of us have actually seen the ball joint in question. Your mechanic may be right, or not. A lot of the rubber boots will crack around the outer folds, that is not the same as torn. They may leak a little grease but the joint can last for many more years.

The joint should have been checked for play in accordance with the factory service manual and if it is out of tolerance, then it should be changed. If it is in tolerance, then it should be checked at each oil change and replaced when it does go out of tolerance.

If the “links” are the tie rod ends, then they should be treated the same as the ball joints. If they are the sway bar links, then the rubber bushings have probably “checked”. By itself, a little checking of the rubber is nothing to worry about. If the rubber has chunks missing or there is a visible gap between the end of the sway bar and the bushing, then they should be changed as well.

BTW, it was about this time frame that some Honda’s/Acura’s got some bad upper ball joints from the factory so they should be checked properly.

I did get the opportunity to see the car once its up on the jack.
I did Not see any cracks at all and the mechanic did not point me to any either. The boots are not new and they prob have some dirt on them - so what my I can see, I did not see any. The experienced mechanic did not see any.

At the top edge of the upper boot, there was some grease - did not come from a torn boot - this is what he wiped it. The shop was not busy and he took the time to check it.

He used a giant sized screw driver like device to push something. Told me that there was nothing wrong - said that he checked the end links too and they are fine.

Some of your comments worry me - it has been a reliable car so far. I still drive a 1987 Acura integra wth 159k. I changed all the suspension around 3yrs ago. Other than these, CV boots, timing belt, no other parts were ever changed.

I sought 2nd opinion and now what should I do other than getting rid of the car?

I will be going back to the Dealer and have him show these damages to me - just got off the phone. There had not been any recall on this car.

I wouldn’t bother going back to the dealer. They’ll come up with some excuse to cover their bad advise. They just tried to scare you into an expensive profit generator for them. If your mechanic showed you the joints and demonstrated no wear to be worried about, I wouldn’t worry. Drive on.

@‌BustedKnuckles - your post is in fact some relief.

Yeah - going back to them is bad idea - I was worried that they might even tore the boot and prove that it is really bad.

I went. I was going to go with a mechanic friend but he didn’t come at the last minute.
I went back to see the issues - the shop technician was not convincing. He was pointing to dusty rubber parts (end links) - along the edges there are deformation out of age. He either said those are cracks or said are separated - separated from what?p

There is no more oil leak issue that they wanted to investigate for $180. Seems deliberately put in there.

He did point to the issue the 2nd m/c pointed - grease was leaking out of one of the suspension - upper ball joint. Also pointed to a piece of metal which seems to have a crack like appearance. However, these two are new issues within a week - they were not on the first report! Maybe dealership have inexperienced m/c to keep the cost down who does not have much sense with old cars.

Ball joints and swaybar links are common wear items on a 14 year old car as are other front end components such as tie rod ends and struts.

To save money you could shop around on the phone and ask for prices. You could buy the materials yourself on if you could find someone to provide just the labor component of the job.