Ball Joint Manufacturer
MZW is a premier suspension manufacturer with a reputation for producing high-quality suspension parts.
For over three decades, MZW has been making aftermarket suspension parts for a wide range of motor vehicles. All that time, we have remained a trusted suspension parts company on the global market.
MZW manufacturing activities involve design, production, supply, and development of different suspension components. Every MZW suspension product offers reliability and durability, qualities that have made us one of the leading automotive suspension manufacturers across the world.
We make different ball joint sizes for a wide range of motor vehicles.
For protection from damage by external elements, MZW ball joints feature a special rubber cover. The protection is long-term, a quality that makes ball joints manufactured by MZW high-quality and our company one of the leading automotive ball joint manufacturers.
We also manufacture custom ball joints for specific requirements and as per client instructions. Our services are swift and our products quality.
Whether looking for OEM products or those made to order, we are the ball joint suppliers to go to. We have the capacity to fulfill even high-quantity orders- and with speed.
Why MZW Automotive Ball Joints?
MZW Ball joints ensure smooth and safe driving- but only if they are quality.
- That means we have to ensure they are strong enough to endure the different environments.
- For smooth operation, MZW ball joints come with lifetime lubrication that features high-quality grease.
- They can withstand different conditions to offer reliable and longlasting performance.
- Being one of the most trusted car ball joint manufacturers, we are fully committed ensuring driving comfort.
- For that reason, all MZW ball joints feature high-grade steel and quality forgings.
- This makes them maintenance-free besides providing for unhindered movement.
MZW Made Ball Joints
Additionally, we test every product to ascertain the required specifications such as ball joint measurements, strength, tolerance levels, and more.
Ball Joint Cross Reference Lookup
Find the right ball joint by entering the OEM number or cross reference number.
We are currently updating our ball joint cross reference/OEM number database, will improve the Ball Joint Search Function Soon.
Please send us your list and we will do the search for you manually.
MZW Ball Joint Guide
In a vehicle, ball joints are special bearings that ensure comfortable and safe driving. Despite their size, the joints serve one of the most important functions in an automobile. This article talks about automotive ball joints. Find out how the components work, where to find them, and the different types on the market. We also show you how to choose the right replacement ball joint for your car or truck. .
Ball Joint Definition
The ball joint in a car or truck is the joint that links the control arm with the steering knuckle. It mounts in bores found on the arm and knuckle, allowing the two parts to move differently and at the same time.
The car ball joint closely resembles that of humans and the reason for its name. It usually consists of a threaded and ball stud encased in a spherical housing. Inside the housing, the round end rides on a lubed plastic or metal bearing.
Ball joints also feature protective boots, or what are also called ball joint gaiters. The boots allow the lubricant to expand while also keeping away contaminants. Many ball joints manufactured today come with a seal instead of boot. Some also come with wear indicators.
For effective operation and longer life, the clearance of the ball stand must fit certain specifications. These vary across manufacturers. Here is a ball joint diagram showing the ball joint and socket assembly
The ball joint design allows movement in more than one direction. This is crucial to ensuring smooth, comfortable, and safe driving. It’s also the reason why every car owner or driver needs to ensure working ball joints at all times.
Where are Ball Joints in a Car?
The location of ball joints depends on the type of suspension. If your car uses a double wishbone suspension, you have a lower and upper ball joint installed. In a Macpherson’s suspension, there’s only the lower ball joint, or what some people refer to as the bottom ball joint.
Some vehicles have ball joints in the front, others both the front part and rear. Again, it depends on the kind of suspension and suspension parts that your car uses. Away from the ball joint location, let’s now see how the component works and the role it plays in a car.
Ball Joint Function
A moving vehicle will bounce vertically following the unevenness of the road. At the same time, the wheels must turn when the driver rotates the steering wheel. Ball joints make that possible.
Each joint features a ball stud rotating in a socket. The round ball is free to move in different directions or planes of rotation. This allows the suspension to move up and down via control arms and the wheels sideways through the steering knuckle.
To enable quiet and smooth operation, auto ball joints are equipped with a spherical bearing, which can be either metal or plastic. Plastic bearings generally come lubed for life and are often found in OEM joints.
Most aftermarket joints use metal bearings that require regular greasing to maintain low friction levels. The ball joint grease keeps the joint lubricated at all times. It also helps to prevent the entry of contaminants such as water and debris.
In summary, the main ball joint function in a car involves the following.
- To pivot the control arm(s)and allow vertical movements of the vehicle, while also letting the wheels to steer
- Support vehicle weight depending on the joint’s location their location or type of suspension system
Types of Ball Joints
Car ball joints are grouped by their design, location, and role. Different types of the joint, therefore, install in different places perform different functions. In that regard, we have these types of the component.
Upper and Lower Ball Joints
The upper ball joint connects the upper control arm to the steering knuckle. Lower ball joints mount on the lower control arm. Some vehicles only have the lower joint, the upper joint being taken over by a suspension strut.
Lower ball joints are typically larger to support a vehicle’s weight. They are also more prone to wear and damage. When used together with an upper joint, the lower ball joint mainly supports the vehicle weight, with the upper joint serving as a point of pivot.
Load Carrying and Follower Ball Joints
Load-carrying ball joints support the weight of a vehicle. They are usually located on the lower control arm. To perform their function effectively, loaded joints are generally larger than the follower types.
Follower ball joints pivot the steering system. They are usually found on the upper control arm. In MacPherson suspensions that have struts in place of upper control arms, the lower ball joint is more of a follower type. Most of the vehicle’s weight is borne by the strut.
Sealed and Greasable Ball Joints
Sealed ball joints come lubed and sealed. You do not need to apply any lubrication throughout the joint’s lifespan. When the grease dries up, you can only replace the entire component.
Greasable ball joints come with a fitting called a Zerk. The fitting lets you lubricate the joint to minimize wear as well as maintain quiet operation. These joints tend to last longer than the sealed types. However, they require regular maintenance or they will get damaged too soon.
Bolt on, Press in, Screw in, and Riveted Ball Joints
Ball joints install in different ways. The mounting method largely depends on the kind of joint. Stock ball joints are often press-in, while the aftermarket types are mostly bolt-on. There also screw-in ball joints and those that use rivets.
Bolt-on joints are the easiest to install or remove. Screw-in ball joint too. The press-in types can be challenging to remove, often requiring the use of a tool called a ball joint separator or ball joint press. Riveted joints are perhaps the most difficult to remove, usually requiring drilling or cutting out of the rivets.
Ball Joint Parts
Although car ball joints come in different designs, their structure generally remains identical. Differences mainly happen in the components. Some come with grease fittings, boots, and wear indicators while others come without them. The main parts that make up a typical ball joint are:
This is the metal case around the joint. It acts as the protecting cover and holds the parts inside together. The ball joint housing has to stand up to internal and external wear or impact. Corrosion, too, since it’s always exposed to the road conditions. The part is, therefore made from a tough material (steel) and coated.
The stud is the round part that rotates inside the joint’s housing. To withstand the stress of constant movement, it’s usually made from hardened steel. This part must not move too much, either. If it does, the ball joint is worn and needs to be replaced. The stud features a tapered and threaded section that attaches the joint to the control arm.
The ball joint bearing is the spherical piece that surrounds the spherical steel ball or stud. It can be metal or plastic (high-quality urethane/nylon). Its role is to reduce friction while allowing free movement of the round ball inside the joint.
Boot or Seal
Made from a tough material (high-quality polyurethane or rubber), the ball joint boot covers the part where the threaded stud enters the joint’s housing. Its main function to contain the grease inside the joint and keep away contaminants. This part may also be a seal that serves the same function. Many modern ball joints feature seals instead of flexible dust boots.
Also called a ball joint cover, the backing plate is the part in the lower end of the housing. It protects the parts inside, keeping them in place. The cover features a tough material to withstand impact and coating to resist corrosion.
The ball joint nut installs on the threaded part of the ball stud, securing the joint to the control arm. The nut is usually either the normal type or castle nut. To hold the nut in place, a cotter pin or snap ring is normally inserted. These come as part of a ball joint kit. A cotter pin holds lower ball joints, a snap ring upper joints. Other fasteners include screws and rivets. These are not as popular, though.
Other ball joint components include the grease nipple and grease relief valve, support spring, boot retainer springs, and wear indicator. The grease nipple is the fitting or opening that allows you to lubricate the joint. Only serviceable ball joints come with this part. To prevent overpressure from too much grease, these joints also feature a grease relief valve.
The support spring is found inside the joint, between the round end of the ball stud and the socket. It pretensions the joint, helping to compensate for wear. The spring also helps to prevent excessive movements or vibrations in the joint. The boot retainer springs secure the dust boot.
Some joints come equipped with a wear indicator. The ball joint wear indicator alerts you of severe wear that requires you to change the component. The wear indicator exists in different types. It can be a protruding pin or a retractable grease fitting.
Ball Joint Problems
Ball joints take a lot of beating, especially when driving conditions are harsh. As a result, the joints are subjected to forces and movements that cause them to wear, sometimes even break or bend. There are also the corrosive materials that find way into the component’s inside or outside. Common problems include:
This happens gradually every time you drive. Wear can be accelerated by different driving conditions such as rough driving, entry of abrasive particles into the joint, and lack of lubrication. Greasable joints require timely application of grease, and in the right amounts. Broken boots should also be replaced on time.
Corrosion causes the parts of a ball joint to deteriorate. It can also lead to increased friction and rapid wear of some parts. Causes of corrosion include water, salts, and other contaminants. Grease keeps most of the corrosion-causing substances away. If the joint is properly coated, it’s also unlikely that it will corrode too soon.
Dust Boot Tear Cracks
The ball joint dust boot is meant to contain grease inside the joint while also keeping away foreign materials. Although usually made from tough rubber or polyurethane, the boot often cracks and breaks down too soon than the other parts. When that happens, the joint starts to wear rapidly, leading to early failure.
This mostly happens in extreme situations such as accidents. If the ball joint is made from inferior materials, breakage can happen when least expected. With the ball joint broken, it would be dangerous to drive the vehicle, or it may not even move. In severe scenarios, the wheel could even fall off.
What is a Quality Ball Joint?
Although small in size, ball joints perform a crucial function. As such, they must conform to certain requirements that make both effective and safe to use in a vehicle. The requirements include:
Clearance- depending on the manufacturer’s specifications or application, a ball joint should not have excessive play. Limits range from zero to not more than 0.25-inch movement laterally. Vertical movement specs are usually manufacturer-specific but should still be minimal.
Size and Weight- to avoid introducing too much weight, ball joints need to be compact and lightweight without compromising sturdiness.
Temperature resistance- automotive ball joints mostly operate in high temperature conditions and should be able to withstand damage by heat.
Corrosion resistance- this refers to the ability to stand up to the damage caused by salts, water, and other corrosive materials.
Friction coefficient- when designing ball joints, friction coefficient is a major factor. Too much friction causes rapid wear and shorter ball joint lifespan.
Torque- a ball joint must maintain torque even when subjected to changing forces and in different directions. This helps to ensure smooth working and accurate steering.
OEM Vs. Aftermarket ball joints
The automotive ball joints on the market are either OEM or aftermarket types. Car owners are often torn between the two. Although either can be inferior, most aftermarket ball joints come with better features for improved performance and longer lifespan.
The improved features of aftermarket joints include grease Zerks that let you lubricate the moving parts and metal bearings that do not wear out quickly. OEM ball joints often come sealed. They also generally have tighter clearances, which causes them to give in too soon.
Another advantage of aftermarket joints is in the cost. They are generally cheaper and fit the budgets of most buyers. When looking to maintain the performance and perfect fit of stock ball joints, it’s advisable to go for OEM models.
Ball Joint FAQs
Q1. Ball joint vs. rose joint, what is the difference?
A. Although both joints are used in vehicles and work almost identically, there are subtle differences between them. Ball joints are commonly used where control arms connect with the steering knuckle. Rose joints or heim joints, as they are also called, are normally found on the ends of control rods such as tie rods.
The ball joint assembly also differs from that of a rose joint in the construction and parts. There are times when rose joints are used in the place of ball joints, though. To help you understand the design differences, here images showing the two joints.
Q2. Do you need to replace ball joints on both sides of the vehicle?
A. Although not necessary, it’s recommended. Ball joints usually undergo more or less the same stress when you’re on the road. The other joints may, therefore, seem to be in good condition but fail soon after.
Q3. What is the ball joint lifespan?
A. It depends on different factors such as driving habits and conditions, how quality the joint is, and the level of maintenance for the serviceable types. Assuming normal operating conditions and quality ball joint, you can expect around 70 000 to 150 000 miles.
Q4. What makes automotive ball joints to go bad?
A. Main causes include rough driving, especially on uneven roads, over-greasing or under-greasing the serviceable joints, and dirty grease nipples. To prolong the life of the joint, ensure regular maintenance of serviceable joints.
Apply only the best ball joint grease, correctly and in the right amounts. See here for the greasing procedure. When driving on uneven roads, avoid excessive speeds and hard braking. It’s also important to choose replacement ball joints carefully to ensure quality products.
Q5. How can you tell that a ball joint in a car is failing
A. Wear or damage to the joint will often show in both the suspension and steering systems. Common ball joint failure symptoms include the following.
- Clucking and knocking sound or what is called ball joint noise when turning or going over a bump
- Steering wheel vibrations or those that seem to come from the front part of the car
- Wandering steering wheel, especially on bumpy roads
- Uneven wear of the tires
- The ball joint wear indicator retreating to become invisible
Apart from these symptoms, a visual examination can help. Here is a video explaining how to check a ball joint for wear and other damage.
Q6. Can auto ball joints be repaired?
A. The ball joints in a car or truck are built to specific tolerances. When worn or damaged, you cannot fix them. You can only replace the entire component. The joint also holds the wheels to the steering knuckle and the suspension to the control arm. As such, they are crucial to driving safety and must be replaced on time.
Q7. What is the cost of a new ball joint?
A. Ball joint price ranges from $20 to $100 or more. It depends on whether you’re purchasing a single joint or a set of ball joints. There is also the ball joint kit that consists of several components as one package. On the market, different ball joint brands have different price tags.
Q8. How much is the ball joint replacement cost?
A. The amount varies from $150 to $200. If the joints are difficult to remove, such as the press-in or riveted types, the cost may be higher than the quoted estimates. Some car types or models also cost more to service. The amount also depends on the rates in your area.
Q9. Do you need wheel alignment after ball joint replacement?
A. You do, especially if the joints were already showing remote signs of wear when you last had the wheels aligned (and which is most likely). Ball joints connect the suspension and steering to the wheels, which means their condition will affect alignment.
Q10. What are the Best Ball Joints?
When buying auto ball joints, these features will help you to choose the right and quality one.
Different ball joints are meant for different vehicle types and applications. Truck ball joints, for example, may not be similar to those used in compact cars. Before making a purchase, it’s essential to know the kind used in your vehicle and match that with the available.
Manufacturers use materials of different qualities to make ball joint parts, from the ball stud, boot, to the housing and backing plate. Hardened steel makes sturdy ball joints that resist both wear and damage. The coating should be able to resist corrosion, while the boot needs to be strong enough to resist heat, tear, and other forms of damage.
The bearing is usually either metal or plastic. Plastic bearings should be made from high-quality materials, or they will wear too quickly and cause costly ball joint replacement. Some are made of metal. These often require to be greased routinely but can offer one of the longest ball joint lifespans.
The ball joints on the market are either sealed or replaceable. Sealed types are less demanding to maintain. However, they’re more prone to wear, especially if the grease inside dries up. Serviceable joints come with grease nipples. These require regular lubrication but perform better in demanding situations. They also have a longer lifespan than the sealed types.
Automotive ball joints are crucial car parts that help your car to steer while also allowing the vertical motion of the wheels. Having quality ones on your vehicle ensures several things, chief among them safety. If you’re an auto parts seller or repair technician, having the right ball joints for your customers is also necessary. It means ensuring their driving safety and driving comfort.