One of the things I’ve learned working at an automotive repair shop is this; replace your ball joints. I actually have an unnatural fear of broken ball joints.
Here’s my reasoning. If they fail, it might get ugly. Here’s why. Ball joints are part of your suspension. They attach to the hub assembly and lower control arms. They attach into something that looks like your hip socket. If they are loose and come out of that assembly, your car continues to move forward without all of the suspension holding it up and no steering ability. Several years ago, there was a white Dodge Intrepid sitting on M6, between the 68th street and 76th street exits. The ball joint had broken and the front of the vehicle was almost sitting on the road. I remember it because I drove past it every day for probably a week.
It was a good visual of a bad situation. We’ve had vehicles towed in that had the ball joint break; and I don’t ever recall a customer enjoying the abrupt stopping then losing control of their car while they were driving.
I’m pretty proactive about almost everything. Learning how different car parts affect drivability and seeing the results when they fail has made me aware of repairs that can be delayed and those that shouldn’t be. If you ever need several repairs your vehicle but must stagger them, talk to your service advisor. And as always, if you are unsure about a diagnosis, seek a second opinion.
A good service advisor will review what needs to be repaired and in what order, if necessary. Repairs that could potentially be a safety issue should be their highest priority.