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Rear Ball Joint Replacement Cost Estimate

Worried you might overpay for your rear ball joint replacement? Use Jerry's GarageGuard™ to get fair cost estimate for your rear ball joint replacement.
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John Davis
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Reviewed by Kathleen Flear, Director of Content
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Edited by Jessica Barrett, Senior Car & Insurance Editor

How much does a rear ball joint replacement cost?

The average total cost for a rear ball joint replacement is $200-$400. The exact price will depend on your vehicle’s year and model.
The total parts cost includes new rear ball joints but may extend to other parts in the control arm assembly as well. As for the labor cost, it takes around 2-3 hours for a certified mechanic to inspect your vehicle, determine whether a repair is necessary, and then perform the ball joint rear replacement. 
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How did we estimate these prices?

Jerry's experts researched and collected data from 2500+ real repair shops in all 50 states in the US, including everything from the total cost of repair services to the hourly labor cost for mechanic labor in each shop. We combined that data with our expert database of hundreds of real repair jobs, thousands of real cars, millions of real car part prices in order to best estimate the cost of each repair service. Our labor cost estimate is calculated by taking the average hourly labor rate for a certified mechanic in the US, times the number of hours it takes on average to complete a repair. We recommend you compare your local shops with Jerry and contact those shops directly to get final pricing for your vehicle.

What parts do you need for a rear ball joint replacement?

Your
car’s suspension system
is a complicated assembly of parts designed to minimize driving disturbances. It keeps metal parts from smashing into one another, optimizes performance, and provides a smooth and comfy drive. 
As you can imagine, your suspension experiences a lot of wear. If your ride doesn’t feel quite right, any of these suspension components could be to blame:
  1. Rear ball joints ($6-$1,300): Broadly speaking, car suspensions use control arms to connect the vehicle’s wheels to the frame, and steering knuckles to turn the wheels. Control arms move up and down; steering knuckles move left and right. Ball joints, being perfect spheres, can accommodate both motions. Depending on the suspension system, your car might have two to four front ball joints and zero to two rear ball joints. Rear ball joints (and rear suspension systems in general) are simpler than their front counterparts. They support a lot of the vehicle’s weight as it accelerates and keep it straight while it slows down.
  2. Control arms
    ($22-$1,300): Control arms may be shaped like an ‘A’, an ‘L’, or a wishbone, depending on the vehicle. Some cars use both upper and lower control arms. Often, they’re sold with the ball joint attached. Control arms can break after years of rust, vibration, and rough roads.
  3. Steering knuckles ($105-$1,170): Depending on the layout of the wheel assembly, steering knuckles may connect the vehicle’s wheels to the control arms or the ball joints. They pivot left to right and allow you to steer the car.
  4. Front ball joints
    ($6-$1,300): Like rear ball joints, front ball joints connect to the control arms and/or steering knuckles. Some suspension systems make use of both upper ball joints and lower ball joints. Front ball joints (and front suspension systems in general) are more complicated than those in the rear. They preserve the driver’s ability to steer while accelerating or braking.
Keep in mind: In the course of inspecting your vehicle’s suspension system, a mechanic might determine you need new rear ball joints, control arms, steering knuckles, front ball joints, or all of the above.
Top brands for rear ball joints, front ball joints, and control arms include Moog and ACDelco. When it comes to steering knuckles, common brands include Dorman and Mevotech. You can purchase all these parts for your car from retailers such as AutoZone, Amazon, and Advance Auto Parts. However, like price, recommended brands may also vary depending on your vehicle's specific year, make, and model.
You can buy a new ball joint at automotive body shops, parts shops, dealerships, or online at AutoZone, Amazon, and Advance Auto Parts. If you prefer OEM parts, you can also try your vehicle manufacturer’s official website. Ford, Honda, Dodge, and just about every other car make sells OEM parts online. Check your owner’s manual for any crucial specifications so you don’t buy the wrong part.
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts generally cost more than aftermarket parts, but they usually come with better warranties. For example, brand-new, genuine Toyota rear ball joints include a 24-month/25,000-mile warranty if installed by a certified Toyota mechanic. Keep in mind that luxury Mercedes-Benz parts cost more than those for budget vehicles like Chevrolet. That being said, some aftermarket performance parts manufacturers offer similar quality as OEM parts, or even better quality in some cases.

Where can I get my rear ball joint replaced?

If you’ve ever wished you could compare local auto shop listings using more than vague ratings systems, try Jerry's
GarageGuard™
. Just like Jerry gets you detailed, personalized
car insurance quotes
, GarageGuard™ lets you compare fair pricing estimates* and save money.
Search for “lower ball joint replacement cost” and you’ll find options with over 2,500 vetted auto repair shops across the country. View real hourly labor rates and diagnostics fees before you decide, or browse verified user reviews to find an experience you like. 
Download the app today and browse quotes from vetted shops below.
154 Reviews
61 Auto Center
address
1226 Centre Ave, Reading, PA
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$70
155 Reviews
1 Stop Auto Services
address
469 Crescent Blvd, Camden, NJ
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$40
123 Reviews
Zimmerman Automotive LLC
address
7638 Airpark Rd A, Great Falls, VA
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$50
100 Reviews
Innovative Auto Solutions
address
4135 Jackie Rd SE #101, Rio Rancho, NM
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How did we vet these shops?

Jerry experts researched 2500+ real repair shops across the US. We talked to real shop customers, and analyzed both real shop pricing data and thousands of real customer reviews from each shop to verify them individually. We do not partner with the shops listed above, and our analysis is always unbiased.

How are rear ball joints replaced?

Take your vehicle to the pros for a rear ball joint replacement, and they will:
  1. Remove the wheels and brakes (if necessary)
  2. Disassemble the rear suspension system (eg. tie rods, struts, rubber boots, etc.) to access the rear ball joints
  3. Use a ball joint press to separate the old ball joint from the rear control arm, or remove the control arm (if it’s integrated with the ball joint)
  4. Press the new joint into place with a ball joint press, or install a new control arm
  5. Reassemble the suspension components and add lubrication
If one of your rear ball joints has broken down, the other is probably on its way, too. The best practice is to replace them both at once.

Can you drive with a bad rear ball joint?

Yes, you can drive with bad rear ball joints, but not for long. 
The rear suspension system doesn’t contribute as much to steering as the front, but it’s still an essential part of your car. It keeps the car cabin suspended over the wheels, stabilizes the wheels, and keeps everything pointed straight. Worn rear ball joints compromise your car’s efficiency and, if left unchecked, could cause:
  • Bad control arms: Without a smooth joint on which to pivot, your control arms could wear and warp.
  • Alignment issues: Bent control arms can cause your wheels to fall out of alignment, making it harder to steer.
  • Uneven tire wear: Misaligned wheels don’t distribute their weight evenly, putting stress in odd places on the tires.

What is a rear ball joint replacement?

A rear ball joint replacement services a small but important part of the rear suspension system of your vehicle. 
Ball joints are composed of a round ball (fitted inside a socket) connected to a straight stud. The socket allows the ball to rotate free, while the stud attaches the joint to the control arm and/or steering knuckle. The vulnerable gap in the opening of the socket is protected by a rubber boot. 
Over time, this rubber seal can fail, allowing dirt and grime to accumulate in the socket and wear out the ball joint. Worn ball joints cannot be repaired and must be replaced.

What are the symptoms of worn-out rear ball joints?

Here are the signs pointing to a bad rear ball joint in your vehicle:
  1. Loose or more difficult handling
  2. Vibration while steering
  3. Involuntary steering towards the right or left (also known as “dog tracking”)
  4. Clunking noises from the rear wheels
  5. Uneven tire wear
Key Takeaway A worn ball joint may cause steering issues, odd vibrations, and clunking sounds from the rear wheels.

What is the life expectancy of a ball joint?

The life expectancy of a ball joint is 70,000 to 150,000 miles. How long it’ll last depends on how often the driver performs maintenance, how much weight it supports, and whether it’s located in the rear or front wheel assembly. Generally, the lower ball joints wear out faster than the ones connected to the upper control arms, and the front ball joints fail sooner than the rear ones.

Is replacing rear ball joints a big job?

Changing ball joints
is a big job that requires basic equipment (including a jack, jack stands, and torque wrench), but plenty of mechanical experience. Suspension systems, brakes, and wheel assemblies are pretty complicated, and because they support so much weight, an incorrect installation could swiftly crack apart. We wouldn’t recommend the DIY approach unless you have detailed repair instructions and plenty of time.

FAQs

The most common cause of bad ball joints is a problem with the rubber boot that seals the gap between the socket and the ball joint. If this rubber ring degrades—due to extreme temperatures, lack of lubrication, rough roads, or simple wear and tear—it can let grime and debris into the socket, which wears down the ball joint.
Some control arms don’t allow you to replace their ball joints separately; those that do use “press-in” car ball joints. You should replace ball joints no more than once, after which you should replace the entire control arm. It’s convenient to be able to swap small parts around, but removing and replacing ball joints multiple times will wear out the roundness and diameter of the socket, causing a loose and ineffective fit.
No, you don’t always need a wheel alignment after replacing your vehicle’s ball joints. As long as your wheels were aligned while the ball joints were still in good repair, it’s probably okay. Get an alignment only if your mechanic performed the last one while your car suffered from bad ball joints.

Meet Our Experts

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John Davis
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Car Expert
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Certified mechanic with 10+ years of experience
John Davis is an expert automotive writer and former automotive mechanic. John's work spans multiple categories, and he relishes the opportunity to research a new subject and expand his area of expertise and industry knowledge. To date, John has written more than 200 articles covering car maintenance and care, car advice, how-to guides, and more.
Prior to joining Jerry’s editorial team, John worked as a mechanic and freelance writer, creating content for clients including HotCars and SetPower.
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Jessica Barrett
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Car Expert
Jessica Barrett is a senior insurance writer and editor with 10 years of experience in the automotive and travel industries. A specialist in car insurance, car loans, and car ownership, Jessica’s mission is to create comprehensive content that car owners can use to manage their costs and improve their lives. As a managing editor for a team of writers and insurance specialists, Jessica has edited over 2,000 articles for Jerry on topics ranging from local insurance shopping tips to refinancing car loans with bad credit.
Before joining Jerry as a senior content editor in 2021, Jessica created visual content for clients such as Expedia, Vivid Seats, Budget Direct Car Insurance, Angie’s List, and HomeAdvisor. Her content was published in Business Insider, Forbes, Apartment Therapy, and the BBC.
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Kathleen Flear
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Car Expert
Kathleen Flear is an expert insurance writer and editor who heads up Jerry’s editorial team as director of content. Kathleen empowers drivers to make smart car ownership decisions through  best-in-class articles on insurance, loans, and maintenance. Prior to joining Jerry in 2021, Kathleen served as managing editor for a team of SEO content marketing professionals at Article-Writing.co and worked as a freelance writer and editor for a range of digital publications, including Chicago Literati magazine and Golden Words. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Queen’s University, and a master’s degree in creative writing and fiction from Sierra Nevada University.
*The price information provided on our car repair webpages is intended for general informational purposes only. Actual prices for car repair services may vary based on various factors, including but not limited to the make and model of your vehicle, the extent of repair required, and the prevailing market conditions. All prices for real repair shops are estimations based on our research only. Therefore, the prices listed on our webpages should not be considered as final quotes or binding offers.