Upper Ball Joint Boot - Front

I get told that both of the front Upper Ball Joint Boots are cracking. Replacement was recommended.

It has 95k miles and never raced - 1999 LS model.

Is this normal on Acura Integra’s? Has double whisborne suspension. Should i use Honda part?

Any tips?

Ball joint boots do tear under normal use

Your car is old enough for rubber parts to start deteriorating

Nothing Honda specific about it

“cracking” is pretty mild, I’d replace them if the boots are torn, or if the ball joint is worn, regardless of boot condition.

+1 for both. I think someone is just trying to raise a boat payment here.

Cracked or split dust boots is normal for aged rubber. The big issue is how badly the ball joints are worn and if they are worn, replacing the lower ball joints should be considered at the same time. A failed ball joint can be hazardous, or lethal, to your health.

Aftermarket parts are fine. Even the Honda OEM parts are aftermarkets as Honda does not manufacture them.

Thanks all. I am a newbie - I can not recognize these parts either.

Some friends tell me different things -

  • replace the boots and repack it with grease
  • Upper ball joints requires you to change the upper control arm itself
  • adjustable upper balljoints

The young guy at PepBoys did not agree to changing the boots itself - is it very common and most mechanics can do it?

If the joint is clean and tight then it may be feasible to replace the dust boots only; at least from a DIYer standpoint.
If you have to pay a mechanic then it may not be cost effective. The premise would be that for not much more you could have a new arm, ball joint, and dust boot.

Parts sites show both lower and upper ball joints available without the control arms but an arm with ball joint is only about 70 something dollars and that’s not bad at all.

You should not require adjustable ball joints unless there is a need to correct something related to camber in the wheel alignment and if there are some abnormal tire wear issues.
The adjustable ball joints add a considerable amount to the total price.
If there’s not any issues with camber or tire wear and if the car were mine, I’d just stick with what the car came with. Hope that helps.

I’m a pro and I would not agree to replace the ball joint boot

Some ball joint boots are hard to install properly . . . if you look closely, you’ll see that some of them have small spring clips at the top and bottom, which serve to keep the dirt out and the grease in. Those clips are very hard to install correctly.

Not to mention that by the time the boot is torn, the joint has probably lost some grease and is already worn

What @db4690 said. Plus, if it’s torn there’s dirt in there, and just repacking doesn’t get the dirt out. So put on a new ball joint, not the boot. Same issues we deal with on CV joints vs. boots. Make all that work worthwhile with new parts.

Jack up your car, remove a front tire and examine the boots yourself…Learn something…If the boots are unbroken, there is no need to replace anything…Cracked? what does that mean? It can mean almost anything, including “boat payment”…On modern cars, the boots are usually integral to the ball-joint. You can’t replace one without the other…

Once you start taking a front-end apart, you usually end up replacing everything that moves or is made out of rubber…Cars don’t wear out one part at a time. The whole package slowly wears out…

Thanks to all and also for the comment of “boat payment”

It looks like a false alarm - I took it to the Firestone yesterday for wheel alignment and they had no issues with the suspension and aligned it well

I took it to the Sears yesterday for brake fluid exchange - the mechanic looked at the car and said that there is nothing wrong - no leaks - so asked about boots - it was dusty and m/c didn’t say anything wrong with it even after I said “boot is ok?”. I looked at it with the wheels removed. I do preventive maintenance during the summer.

It looks like it is a false alarm.

Maybe not so much a false alarm as someone trying to dig into your pocket.

Ok - so I will find the mechanic and ask him to show it to me. That should make me sane.

I’m going to join the chorus here and say “just forgdaboutit” Ball joint boots check and crack after about 10 years or so, most around the perimeter of one of the folds. The ball joint will still be good for another 10 years or so. BTW, you will notice that the boot is dry, even though it is cracked. Thats because no grease leaked out, and the reason that no grease leaked out is that there isn’t any grease in there in the first place.

Most factory ball joints use a an ultra high density polyethylene insert between the ball and socket. It is actually slipperier than grease and has a very long life. It is the same material used in artificial hip joints for people.

Thanks @keith
I hear you - my online research seems to show me that if the boots are failing then all the rest of the suspension should be on the way - I don’t think that it is the case in my car. It is reassuring.

I spoke with the m/c and asked how I could see the crack - he says nothing ripped off but could see the lines (hair line ?)
Last time he said that the crack causing more ply …!