I started to hear a creaking sound under my JK. When I went to check out where the sound was coming from, I noticed the tire on that side was wearing differently from the tire on the other side. I immediately deduced that I had a ball joint wearing out.
I made an appointment with my mechanic friend at the tire shop close to my house. He confirmed my suspicions. I thought this would be a great time to tell you guys how to choose the best ball joints for Jeep JK.
Since I had mine replaced in a shop, I asked for expert advice from the suspension specialist on how to select the best ball joints for a vehicle.
Comparison of 6 Ball Joints For Jeep JK
Our Top Pick
Our Top Pick
Top 6 Jeep JK & TJ Ball Joint Reviews
1. Moog K3134T Ball Joint
One of the things I liked most about the Moog K3134T ball joint is that it is serviceable. You can grease this item periodically so it lasts longer and does its job with consistency.
When you are installing the joint make sure you orient it in such a manner that you will be able to access the fitting that allows you to grease the joint. It has a flat head fitting instead of the typical zerk fitting so you might need to buy a different grease gun to be able to properly maintain these lower joints.
These joints are specifically designed to give you perfect fitment. They are easy to install and most people can change them without taking their vehicle to the shop.
2. TeraFlex 3442002 Ball Joints
When you look at the price of these ball joints you will think they are a little on the expensive side. The reason for the higher price is the set is a replacement for 2 upper ball joints and 2 lower ball joints.
These joints are serviceable. TeraFlex has designed them with two zerk grease fittings so most people already have the right grease gun. The two fittings allow you to service the joint from either side so the greasing is easier to do.
If you have installed a lift kit and are running bigger tires on your Jeep then you need to change ball joints. These ball joints are designed to be adjustable so they fit your vehicle and your driving style.
TeraFlex has created a ball joint that does the job for everyone. You are not stuck with the camber angle the manufacturer provides with their joint. You customize these to your preferences.
3. Alloy USA 11800 Upper & Lower Ball Joint Kit
All of the hardware you need to install these ball joints is included in the package. They are easy to change and maintain. Yes, they are capable of being greased to extend their life.
This kit contains 2 upper joints and 2 lower joints. Changing all four joints at one time ensures that your vehicle is in the best possible shape.
These ball joints give you steering like you had when the vehicle was new. They tighten up the front end and give you greater control over your vehicle. They are great for people who drive off-road.
These ball joints are a little hard to press. You are going to need an impact wrench and a ball joint press to get them installed.
4. Detroit Axle 4WD Upper and Lower Ball Joint
Perfect fitment ball joints for Dodge Ram 2500 that have a Dana 60 axle and were manufactured between 1994 and 1999. Also, fit a large number of Ford vehicles manufactured between 1992 and 2012.
Grease fittings are present on these ball joints. They are very easy to maintain, and more durable because of the grease fittings. The fitting is a typical zerk fitting so most grease guns will work with it.
4WD vehicles are harder on their lower ball joints than 2WD vehicles are. These joints are capable of handling that extra pressure applied by a 4WD and the difficult terrain off-road driving introduces them to.
The nuts on the lower ball joints are longer than average. If the new nuts are too long to secure your ball joint without rubbing against the upper joint simply use the nuts you took out of the old ball joint.
5. Moog K80026 Ball Joint
Easy installation is one of the best things about this Moog component. Your steering alignment will be greatly improved, and the ball joint fits right out of the box without you having to make any adjustments.
Heat-treated metal is used in the creation of these powerful joints. The heat-treated metal is stronger and more durable than other metals. That means longer-lasting joints and steering control.
The gusher bearing is designed to allow grease to easily flow through it so the friction the joint endures is reduced. Less friction means a longer performance.
A new lubricant can be introduced to the ball joint every time you grease your suspension system. The new lubricant reduces friction, maintains the integrity of the ball joint, and provides you with the assurance that your ball joints are in tip-top shape.
6. MOOG K6541 Ball Joint
Pre-installed dust shields extend the life and performance of this ball joint. The dust shield keeps sand and water from penetrating the ball joint and degrading the grease inside the joint.
Greaseable sockets are in place so you can keep the lubricant inside the joint clean and plentiful. If any contaminant does enter the fluid you will push the contaminant out when you push the new fluid in. This is a life-extending feature that protects your investment.
A preloaded Belleville washer works to keep the bearings in the ball joint tight. As the bearings wear the washer will extend the service of the ball joint by keeping the worn bearings from getting loose too quickly.
The MOOG ball joint presses easily into place. Most people can make the switch over at home without taking the vehicle to a mechanic shop.
Things to Consider Before Buying Ball Joints For Jeep
A lot of people make the assumption that a ball joint is a ball joint. The only consideration about the joints that they make is whether they are sized appropriately for the vehicle they drive.
Before you replace your jeep jk ball joints take the time to learn what features and benefits different types of these items offer. Make a list comparing the benefits of each type of joint and then see how many of the benefits apply to your vehicle and driving style.
Greaseable or Sealed Joints
There are basically two types of ball joints. One type is greaseable so every time that you grease your vehicle you can put new fluid into the joint. Most people think these joints are longer lasting because they can be maintained, and you always know that they are packed with grease and ready to go.
There are also sealed joints that cannot be serviced. Many people think these joints are longer-lasting because there is not a port on them that allows dirt, dust, or grime to get inside them.
Both of these joints are good and whether one style is better than the other actually depends on your personal preferences.
Some jeep ball joints are manufactured with a boot shield. The boot shield is actually a protection against dust and water getting in the unit. Boot shields are good for anyone that drives their vehicle on dirt roads, through mud puddles, or over unpaved ground.
There are OE requirements for the ball joints on your vehicle. You want to make sure that the new ones you buy meet the OE requirements concerning fatigue strength.
Heat-treated studs are stronger than the ones that are not heat-treated.
Pressed In Cover Plates
If the ball joint you are considering says that it has a pressed-in cover plate then you will be getting an item that seals out the debris that can degrade the fluid inside the ball joint. You want as many features that keep dirt and water out of the ball joint as possible.
Some ball joints can be adjusted to create the perfect fitment and alignment. Adjustable joints fit a larger range of vehicles. They can also be adjusted in the future if you upgrade your tire size, or make other suspension changes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Do Ball Joints Do?
The ball joints on your vehicle are designed to allow the steering knuckles to be able to pivot in the control arm. This part of the suspension system works like the ball and socket of a human hip joint work. The control arm is like the socket of the hip joint and the knuckles are like the ball of the joint.
The ball joint is the connection between the tire and wheel with the suspension system.
How Do I Know If My Ball Joint is Bad?
The main indicators of a bad ball joint are unusual noises, loose steering, or vibrations felt in the steering wheel. Unusual wear and tear on the tires of the vehicle is often one of the first indicators that the ball joints supporting that portion of the suspension system are beginning to be worn out.
The only way to really tell if your jeep jk ball joint is bad is to jack the vehicle up off of the ground so you can get a look at the joint, and the way the joint response when the steering wheel is turned.
What Happens When a Ball Joint Fails?
Worn out ball joints may result in you loosing control of the vehicle while you are driving. This occurs when the stud of the ball joint separates from the housing of the joint.
Worn ball joints will cause the alignment of the vehicle to be off so the tires will not wear evenly. The uneven tread on the tires can cause you to have less control when you are driving, or cause you to have a tire blow-out.
Can Ball Joint be Replaced By an Owner?
You do not have to take your vehicle to a suspension specialist to get the ball joint replaced.
However, you are going to need a specialized tool to press the ball joint in place. You can often rent that tool at local parts houses.
You are going to need to have the ability to safely lift the vehicle so the weight is no longer on the tires. You are also going to need several mechanical tools like wrenches and sockets available to help you reach the ball joint and put the new one in place.
I am not a suspension expert but I do know that the ball joints of a jeep are key components of the suspension system. They are critical parts of your vehicle that must be properly maintained to keep your vehicle safe to drive.
It is imperative that you make regular checks of your jeep jk ball joints, and if they are the serviceable type that you keep them lubricated properly.
The upper and lower ball joint may not wear out at the same time. The lower ball joint has a harder job than the upper one. However, I recommend going ahead and changing both of these items at the same time.