Two ball joint failures in 6 months - '95 Honda Accord


#1

Any idea why, after replacing the front axle and ball joints after failure at 180K, it would happen again so soon? Someone broke down in the street in front of my house, and in getting acquainted I learned that it had happened 5.5 months ago. They are leery of fixing it and continuing to drive it, and I am considering buying it from them and fixing it and keeping it. Could a repair shop have done that bogus a job, or could there be other stressors that would precipitate the same thing happening?


#2

It could have been a very shoddy job…Or could have been overly aggressive driving. Never had to replace the ball joints on or axle on my wifes 96 Accord. Had well over 200k miles on it when we sold it last year.


#3

The unknown part is this. The Accord uses FOUR ball joints; one on each lower conrol arm and one on each upper control arm X both sides.
Find out if all four were replaced and if not, there’s your answer why the joint broke.

If a new joint broke that would be a one in a million fluke. Another more likely cause for a ball joint separation (on a fairly new joint) is that someone failed to properly tighten and pin the nut and eventually the right bump pulled the joint free.


#4

All of the above plus were the replacements “Made In China”? Another possibility, though very rare, is the replacement joints came “dry” whereby you have to install the grease zert yourself and grease it yourself. Could be that this was overlooked, especially if more than 1 person worked on it. You know—a couple of buddies on a leisurely weekend afternoon, sharing a 6-pack or two, and/or etc., might have just overlooked the zerts and grease. Like I said, rare, but I’ve seen it.


#5

Another possibility, though very rare, is the replacement joints came “dry” whereby you have to install the grease zert yourself and grease it yourself.

The ball joints for this vehicle are Sealed Units…I guess he could have replaced them with units you grease…but I don’t know any that sell them for the Accord.


#6

Thanks, all, for your informative responses. I’ll find out tomorrow if all the components are new or if there was some fudging. The mechanic said he didn’t see as many new-looking parts as he thought, but was going to take apart everything and look to be sure. I think the owners should keep it if it looks like it can be repaired properly, but twice burned…and all that. It sounds as if, from what you all have said, that only a poor quality job or poor quality components could cause it to happen again, and that the stresses of two failures wouln’t set up more failures elsewhere.


#7

Your looking at anything from driving habits to (What you mentioned) the shop. I normally don’t recommend dealerships for anything but warranty work, but in this case I will. Or, actually buy the honda part yourself and have a shop, an honest shop install them. Finding an honest shop is the trick here. While an honest shop replaces the ball joints they will observe other suspension components and determine if anything is wrong - something like worn struts. Driving habits are also very relevant here. How many times has the usual driver actually hit the parking curbs in a parking space instead of just stopping shy of them? Do the usual drivers share the car with a teenager?
I own SUVs which are driven off-road all the time (It is all part of living in the Rockies - not next to them, in them) and I had to replace a driver side, lower ball joint twice in three months. The second time I gave the lower control arm a very close look and found a crack in the lower control arm that was allowing excess travel in spite of it being securely bolted in. It must have been a case of twisting and flexing. I replaced the lower control arm and ball joint and have not had a problem in several months. It also just may be the car. I’ve only replaced one ball joint in my 15 year-old Explorer, but three in the wife’s GM.


#8

Wow! what useful information! It seems that all the first mechanic replaced was the axle…hard to believe, with liability exposure and such, that a shop would take any chances at a second failure. Thanks to all, and I think my friends have enough information to decide what to do.