Although a Jeep JK is not as comfortable as an SUV, the amount of experience it offers when driving on rough terrains is ultimately unquestionable. This is all thanks to their strong suspensions, and most importantly, the ball joints. Since they’re often overworked, these parts demand regular maintenance to ensure that your Jeep stays in good shape. But, which are the best ball joints for Jeep JK?
Now, ball joints are crucial parts of your Jeep’s steering and suspension system. When they’re damaged, you’ll expect to feel vibrations, steering issues due to wheel imbalance and you’ll notice rapid tire wear on one side.
So, to avoid expensive repairs in the future, you need to get yourself a pair of these ball joints. But, how? Well, you don’t need to worry as this guide has already done the homework for you by discussing ten of the best ball joints that will make a difference.
Best Ball Joints for Jeep JK: Editor’s Top Pick
Top 10 Best Ball Joints for Jeep JK Reviews:
1. TeraFlex 3442002 JK/JKU HD Dana 30/44 Upper & Lower Ball Joint Kit
Making its mark as the first ball joint kit in our list is the TeraFlex 3442002 HD Dana Ball Joint Kit. Now, if you own a Jeep JK, then you know how frequent maintenance can be especially when you consider their heavy load and the type of off-road terrains they traverse. Therefore, to guarantee the best performance, ball joints such as these offerings from TeraFlex are generally a paramount necessity.
Thankfully, following their immense engineering knowledge, TeraFlex has designed these ball joints with incredible features one of which is the heat-treated 4140-grade chrome moly balls and studs. To prevent corrosion and damage caused by extreme heat, a 1045 carbon steel housing coated with magnesium phosphate has been used to coat these ball joints.
You’ll also be interested in the serrated bushings, which when combined with the extra cushioning on the ball joints, will help to balance your Jeep, especially on the sides. These ball joints are easily greased and adjusted making them an excellent choice for all Jeep JK and JKU’s.
Finally, yet importantly, if you have a Jeep JK that is a2007 and 2012 model, going for these ball joints will guarantee your vehicle the best performance all at a pocket-friendly price.
- They’re easily greased and adjusted.
- Once the axle shaft is modified, they work for 2013 and other newer models.
- Heat-treated steel construction guarantees longevity.
- Provide balance and handle extreme loads on the sides.
- Their extra cushioning also help to prevent death wobble issues.
Now Think Again
- No information on how to install it.
- Installation requires a professional mechanic.
2. Dynatrac CR92-2X3050-A Pro Steer Ball Joints
Another ball joints kit we would highly recommend to Jeep JK owners is the Dynatrac CR92-2X3050-A Pro from Dynatrac. Although they’re designed to fit specific vehicles, owners of Jeep JK and Dodge Ram 2500s and 3500s, 2003, and 2012 models are quite lucky as these ball joints will just fit perfectly well.
Now, just like our previous ball joints, these ones too come in two pairs alongside other installation kits. They’re also made from sturdy steel that guarantees quality performance and still blends with your Jeep’s suspensions.
Now, to reduce the hassle, these ball joints come when they’re already pre-greased. Although you can’t resist the temptation of adding a little grease during installation, the good thing is that longevity is guaranteed. Since you won’t need to re-grease the ball joints regularly, cases of regular wear on the housing ends are generally reduced substantially.
As one of the heaviest ball joints, weighing 8.25 pounds, the Dynatrac CR92-2X3050-A Pro is surprisingly one of the ball joints that can be repaired with simple hand tools while still on your Jeep’s axle shaft.
This is one way of improving safety and your car’s drivability, as you won’t need to remove the entire wheel, braking, and hub assembly. Welcomed with a full manufacturer’s warranty, these ball joints are truly excellent units that are designed to offer you a swift and seamless driving experience.
- These ball joints come when fully pre-greased.
- With the right-hand tools, installation is just a breeze.
- They’re made from sturdy heat-treated Chromoly steel.
- There are stainless steel spherical balls on the ball joints for smooth movement.
- Universal and perfect for both Jeep JK and Dodge 2500 and 3500 models.
Now Think Again
- Unfortunately, they’re not adjustable.
- They’re also quite expensive.
3. Alloy USA 11800 Upper & Lower Ball Joint Kit – 4 Pieces
Now, if you’re a fan of products made in the United States, then our next ball joints kit will appeal to you as the brand name can explicitly tell about its heritage. By understanding the importance of reducing wear to the minimum, Alloy USA has designed the 11800 Upper & Lower Ball Joint Kit with a heat-tested SAE 4120 and SAE 4140 Chromoly steel to withstand the heavy-duty use it will generally face throughout its lifetime.
When you open the package, these ball joints come in a set of two upper and lower ball joints alongside 4 cutter pins and 2 snap rings. Their steel construction on the inserts and the ball studs (inside) is quite impressive as it has totally replaced the factory nylon inserts that come already pre-assembled on your Jeep.
They come with a brilliant threaded preload system to allow smooth and accurate steering movement while their design allows free movement of grease throughout the components to enhance longevity and prolonged ball joint life.
So, if you’re driving a lifted Jeep with tires larger than stock applications, then a high-grade steel ball joint kit such as the Alloy USA 11800 Upper & Lower Ball Joint Kit is exactly what you need.
- The low-profile Zerk grease fitting allows easy servicing and maintenance.
- Made from high-grade steel for maximum strength.
- The preload system provides accurate steering of your Jeep.
- The upper balls allow a convenient flow of grease throughout the parts.
- They help to reduce death wobble significantly.
Now Think Again
- The 5-year warranty is quite low.
- They’re not adjustable.
4. American Star Polaris 4130 Chromoly Racing ATV/UTV A-Arm Ball Joint Set
With a weight of just 1.6 pounds, these ball joints from American Star Manufacturing are exactly what you need to enjoy the smoothest of rides. Not only are they reliable, but these balls are also universal thus allowing them to fit on a variety of Jeep models alongside Polaris (RZR 570, RZR 800, and RZR 800S) Sportsman (550, 850, and 1000), and Scrambler (850 and 1000).
Now, the reason why these ball joints are so common in most lifted vehicles with large tires is due to their premium 4130 Aircraft Grade Chromoly steel construction that has totally replaced the factory-fitted ball joints that come with nylon bushings. While steel is designed to withstand heavy-duty use, nylon is quite unpredictable as it can get deformed due to increased load and excessive stress.
Speaking of the performance, these ball joints are designed to offer better rotation within the housing. They’re also easy to grease and above that, they have a zinc-plated finishing that guarantees longevity of the balls.
- Versatile enough to fit a wide range of large wheeled vehicles.
- The design allows for easy installation and servicing.
- The heat-treated steel is strong both from the outside and inside.
- They’re light yet tough in their performance.
- More reliable than factory-fitted ball joints.
Now Think Again
- The snap rings can bend at some point.
5. MOOG Chassis Products K3185 BALL JOINT
MOOG has truly taken pride in being called “The Problem Solver”. This fact has been highlighted by their authenticity and product quality with one such example being the MOOG K3185 BALL JOINT.
If you’ve shopped for ball joints before, then you know how troublesome they can get especially when dust, debris, and water penetrates the sockets. Thankfully, with this ball joint model, everything has been taken care of to the very latter.
First off, the ball stud has been heat-tested to guarantee strength and durability while still complying with OE requirements. This is a bold step from MOOG as it helps their ball joints to overcome premature metal fatigue.
As we mentioned earlier, dirt and debris can damage the sockets. So, to prevent this, the K3185 model is equipped with a dust-proof boot cover that shields the greased sockets from getting damaged by dirt.
Additionally, the greaseable socket allows lubricants to penetrate the ball joints to flush out debris and reduce the wear caused by corrosion. The metal-to-metal gusher bearing has been added to allow a smooth flow of lubricants to reduce friction. Finally, this model has “MOOG PROBLEM SOLVER” printed on it making it easier to identify counterfeit products.
- Installing this ball joint model is quite easy.
- The socket and the gusher bearing allow lubricants to flow easily.
- The dust boot cover seals out dust to reduce wear.
- The stud is heat-tested to reduce cases of metal fatigue.
- It’s available at an affordable price.
Now Think Again
- Sold as a single ball joint.
- It can’t be adjusted.
6. 4×4 Models Only – Detroit Axle – New Front 4-Piece Upper & Lower Ball Joint Set
With over 30 years of experience, Detroit Axle is proud of being a trusted brand in the manufacture of some of the best ball joints for Jeep JK around the globe. Not only do their ball joints look sleek, but they’re also sturdy allowing you to experience a seamless drive in almost any terrain.
Now, when you open the package, you’ll be welcomed with two sets of ball joints that are to fit on the upper and lower suspensions of your Jeep.
As far as installation is concerned, setting up these ball joints is very easy especially when you have the right-hand tools. In case you’ve never installed them before, hiring a professional mechanic to accomplish this job is the best move to prevent any costly complications that might occur.
Now, just like the rest of the ball joints we’ve reviewed, the Detroit Axle – New Front 4-Piece Upper & Lower Ball Joints are among the best aftermarket auto parts that offer immense support to your heavy Jeep especially at the sides.
Their sturdy characteristics have allowed them to suit a variety of 4WD vehicles such as 1994 – 1999 models of Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 and 1992 – 2012 models of Ford Excursion, F-250, and F-350 Super Duty.
- It comes with two pairs to fit both under and lower suspension ball joints.
- This kit is compatible with a wide range of 4WD vehicles.
- Installation is quite a breeze.
- They have rubber boots to prevent dust and debris from sneaking in.
- They’re sturdy and very supportive.
Now Think Again
- The nuts on the lower ball joints fail to thread all the way.
- The snap rings don’t fit properly.
7. Synergy Manufacturing 8009-12 Jeep JK/WJ Dana 30/44 HD Ball Joint Set
Next on our list, we will present to you the 8009-12 Ball Joint Kit from Synergy Manufacturing. Although they came at the bottom of our list, these ball joints cannot be compared with the ordinary kits you’ll find pre-fitted in your new Jeep. While most factory-installed ball joints comprise of nylon bushings, this kit comprises of 4140 heat-tested steel ball joints that will guarantee you years of service.
Not only that, but the machined bearing housing is also constructed from a mix of sintered graphite, bronze, and 4140 steel to protect the ball joints from metal fatigue and corrosion.
Now, this kit comprises two pairs of ball joints to fit the upper and lower suspension ball joints. They’re easily greased to enhance a smooth operation and they have ball joint boots that are made from silicone polyurethane to prevent dust and debris from penetrating inside.
Now, one of the major selling points of the Synergy Manufacturing 8009-12 Ball Joint Kit is the easy installation process that’s enhanced by the nitty-gritty instructional manual. Although they’ve totally outperformed most factory ball joint assemblies, this kit is only intended for short bursts of applications with a service of about 40,000 – 50,000 mileage.
- The instruction manual is crystal clear.
- The installation process is very easy.
- They’re fully greaseable.
- They’re made from heat-tested steel.
- The silicone polyurethane ball joint boot is wear and tear-resistant.
Now Think Again
- They’re designed for short term use.
- The rubber boots can wear off faster.
8. Rare Parts RP12573 Ball Joint Kit
With immense knowledge in the market, Rare Parts understands the disappointment that creeps in following the unannounced and untimely wear of your vehicle’s factory-installed ball joints. So, to give you new improved drivability, the high-standard Rare Parts RP12573 Ball Joint Kit was developed. Though pricey, there are times when the preference for performance becomes a necessity irrespective of the price.
So, what makes this ball joint kit worth your time? First, this model comes as a set for both upper and lower suspensions. The package also includes all the necessary installation accessories meaning you won’t have to shop for anything extra during the installation process.
The construction is something you’ll truly love as these ball joints are made from steel then housed under a CNC machined billet housing.
About the performance, the Rare Parts RP12573 Ball Joint Kit is designed with a Patent-Pending adjustable load-carrying cap that allows the upper ball joint to share the burden with the lower ball joint to provide balance and significantly improve the lives of the lower ball joint.
Another major improvement is the grease grooves both on the upper and lower ball joints that improve greaseability for more improved performance.
- Both ball joints share the load equally.
- They have adjustable load carrying caps.
- Grease grooves provide an easy greasing experience.
- The polyurethane wipe seals prevent dust and debris from penetrating.
- Metal construction improves durability.
Now Think Again
- The lower ball joints can’t be adjusted.
9. PartsW 4 Pc Suspension Kit
From what we’ve seen so far, there are just a few ball joints that can match the performance and the versatility that the PartsW 4 Pc Suspension Kit can offer. In fact, we think that’s the reason why these ball joints are synonymous with the Jeep brand.
Whether it’s a Jeep Cherokee, Comanche, Grand Cherokee, Grand Wagoneer, TJ, Wrangler, and Wrangler JK, getting one of these kits will help to improve drivability and guarantee undebatable durability.
Now, when you open the pack, you’ll find two upper and two lower ball joints. Each of them is made from vigorously heat-tested steel materials, specifically alloy steel, to improve balance and endure the heavy load offered by the extra-wide tires. Corrosion is also reduced significantly thanks to the black oxide coating.
In addition to that, Parts Warehouse has permanently attached a dust boot to seal the inner ball from being damaged by dust and debris. Once greased, these ball joints guarantee a smooth 360 degrees movement of the steering making them one of the unbeatable choices in the market. Now, despite being an enthusiastic DIYer, one thing you shouldn’t expect here is a flawless installation process. You should, therefore, leave the process to a pro.
- There are dust boots to keep the dust off.
- The package comes with all installation kits.
- Versatile enough to suit various models of the Jeep.
- Easily greased to improve performance.
- Made from heat tested steel.
Now Think Again
- The lower ball joints are tough to install.
- The grease boots are very hard to remove.
10. DANA Spicer 706944X Suspension Ball Joint Kit, Front
Although they came last in our list, the DANA Spicer 706944X Suspension Ball Joints are not just something to joke about. In fact, they’re regarded as one of the best replacements for the unpredictable factory-fitted ball joints thanks to their steady construction.
Now, when you open the package, you’ll find a set of four-ball joints (alongside their respective fitting accessories) that are light yet sturdy enough to fit the upper and lower link-arms of the front suspensions. Due to their heat-tested steel bodies, these ball joints can endure the heavy load caused by the extra-large wheels of your Jeep.
As far as installation is concerned, it only takes about 2 to 3 hours meaning the whole process is just a breeze, especially when performed by a pro. The DANA Spicer 706944X Suspension Ball Joints are also quite versatile allowing them to fit in a variety of 4WD vehicles such as the Jeep JK, 1987 – 2006 models of the Wrangler, 1993 – 1998 ZJ Grand Cherokee, Rubicon, and 1986 – 1992 MJ Comanche.
- Strong enough to cover over 100,000 miles.
- Installation is an easy process.
- They can suit a wide range of vehicles.
- The upper ball joints have grease fittings for easy greasing.
- The lower ball joints arrive when they’re already pre-greased.
Now Think Again
- Though advertised as 4, you only receive 2 ball joints.
Things to Consider When Buying Ball Joints for Jeep JK
Although they’re tiny parts, ball joints for Jeep JK are very important in providing support for your Jeep. They play the role of being the pivot point between your Jeep’s suspensions and wheels. Since they’re the ones that shoulder all the heavy load, shopping for the best ball joints for Jeep JK is one way you can improve drivability and guarantee optimal functionality of your car.
With that said, here are a few pointers you’ll need to keep in mind when you’re out in the market to get some new aftermarket ball joints.
The first thing you should consider when choosing the best ball joints is the quality of the materials used. If you consider most of the models we’ve reviewed herein, you’ll notice that all of them are constructed from heat-tested steel that endures extreme temperatures. Not only that, but the materials also used guarantee extreme durability that will offer you a couple of years before they can beg for a replacement.
This is quite the contrary with factory-fitted nylon ball joints that get deformed immediately they’re exposed to heavy load on your Jeep’s wheels.
When it comes to the design, you need to learn and understand the construction of the specific ball joints you’re intending to buy. Now, I will admit that this can sometimes turn to be a lengthy process as these parts are basically the same.
However, if you consider all the ball joint models we’ve reviewed here, you’ll notice that all the parts, including the bearings, the housing, washers, ball stud, and end covers, are constructed from heavy-duty materials to guarantee strength and durability.
Still, on the design, you need to ensure that the ball joints you purchase are easily greaseable and that they have grooves that allow lubricants to penetrate smoothly in the inside. They should also have dust boots to lock dust, debris, and water out to prevent corrosion and damage.
Another factor, which by the way should be at the top, is shopping for the right fit. Although the design and the quality might be appealing, if the ball joints fail to fit in your specific vehicle, then they’re next to being useless.
Therefore, to avoid any disappointments, you need to first peruse through your car’s owner’s manual or company website to confirm the details regarding your car’s specs.
Once you’re confident that they fit, then you can proceed to make your purchase. From what we’ve read in the review section, you’ll notice that most ball joint models are compatible with most Jeep models alongside several other 4WD vehicles.
Although that’s the case, always double-check your vehicle to confirm whether it requires the ball joints on one side or both upper and lower sides.
This is the next factor that must be considered if you’re looking to get the best out of your new ball joints. Are they strong enough to endure the heavy weight of your Jeep without bending, deforming, or showing early signs of metal fatigue? Well, if that’s the case, then that’s the right package you need to get.
Another way you can determine whether the ball joints are up to the task ahead is by determining the number of turns your Jeep’s wheels can make on average. The specific ball joints should also outperform their factory-fitted counterparts in all aspects such as the design, the materials, and the performance.
Now, another checkbox your favorite ball joint kit will need to pass is whether it comes with all the necessary pieces needed during installation. While some models only stick to the ball joints alone, there are others that take a step further to include extra components and enhancements. At least this will make installation a fast process and will also help to save some bucks that could be spent on purchasing any missing components.
Have you confirmed the price? Well, this is another factor you might be forced to examine, as you can’t just shop for what you can’t afford. If you’re not willing to spend much on a pricey ball joint model, then you can go for the cheaper open market models that are in plenty. However, this is not advised as most of them do not offer the required performance.
Therefore, to avoid untimely breakdowns due to malfunction, always go for those expensive models that offer greater value in terms of the output.
Ease of Installation:
What’s the level of difficulty when it comes to installation? This is another key pointer you’ll need to keep in mind when shopping for new ball joints. If you’re an enthusiast DIYer planning to do the installation all by yourself, then a model that offers a well-detailed step-by-step manual will be worth your time. Always make sure the installation manual is included in the package.
Any Extra Features:
Although ball joints are not the same, extra features are what make a good product better. If you’ve narrowed down your selections and you’re remaining with two products with similar capacities, looking for any extra features can help you consider product A over product B. Features such as the materials, the design, greaseability, and the level of resistance offered by the coating are just some of the considerations.
What are Jeep Ball Joints?
If you’re a beginner, or simply a professional car owner who has never spent some time examining his/her 4WD vehicle, then it’s time to learn a few things about ball joints and how they work. Now, before ball joints came into use, most vintage vehicles used the kingpin/trunnion or kingpin/link pin arrangements.
However, after adapting to the new ball joint arrangement, most modern vehicles have truly improved in terms of performance and drivability.
So, what exactly are Jeep ball joints? By looking at them, ball joints are tiny spherical bearings that resemble humans’ ball and socket joints. Their purpose is to connect the axle to the steering knuckles of your Jeep. In fact, they serve as the pivot between the wheel and the suspension of your Jeep.
Now, most Jeep JK relies on all four-ball joints to connect to the upper and lower link-arms of the front suspensions. Once installed, these ball joints are required to use the ball bearings to rotate the steering axle. Combining this with the bushings, the links, and the joints, your car’s steering system will be smooth enough to offer excellent drivability.
How to Replace Jeep Ball Joints?
In the reviews section, we mentioned that some ball joint brands offer flawless step-by-step instructions on how to install the ball joints. However, accomplishing this process, not forgetting having the right-hand tools and observing safety, can be overwhelming to enthusiast DIYers. However, if you’re up to the task, simply gather all the right tools and get ready to replace your Jeep’s ball joints.
To start, you’ll have to remove the entire wheel assembly to get access to the ball joints. First, loosen the bolts on the wheels then jerk the vehicle up. Once you’ve removed the wheel, the next step is to remove the brake calipers. The brake caliper bolts can be removed using a 12.5-inch socket. Once you’ve removed all the bolts, use a large C-clamp to push the brake caliper piston. You can tie the brake calipers to the front control arm using a piece of wire just to get out of the way.
With the brake assembly out of the way, you can now gain access to the hub assembly. Here, you have to remove the three bolts that secure the hub to the steering knuckle. Once the bolts are out, the next step is to remove the nut that locks the axle shaft to the hub assembly. To do that, you’ll have to use a 36 mm socket.
With the hub assembly out of the way, you can now pull the axle shaft out of the differential. Next, use a ¾ socket to loosen the bolt that secures the tie rod to the steering knuckle. With the tie rod out, you will have clear access to the steering knuckle as well as both the upper and lower ball joints.
Now, to start with the lower ball joint, you will need a 28 mm socket to remove the lower ball joint castellated nut. The upper ball joint castellated nut will require a 22 mm socket. With both upper and lower castellated nuts out, you can now remove the steering knuckle to gain access to the ball joints.
Our next step is now to remove both the upper and lower ball joints. To do that, you’ll need to use a ball joint press where you’ll have to fit it at the top and bottom of the ball joint. Once it’s tightly in place, start tightening the ball joint press until the ball joints are pushed out of their sockets one at a time.
Once the old ball joints are out, you can now clean and lubricate the entire axle assembly to remove dirt and make the assembly process flawless. So, after choosing one of the ball joints we reviewed, its mow time to put them on.
To do that, you have to put the top ball joint on its socket then place a ball joint cap on top at the bottom. This will help to secure the ball joint firmly once you press it using a ball joint press. To ensure that both ball joints are installed correctly, the shoulders of both ball joints must restfully against the steering knuckle. Once you’re done, replace every wheel assembly back to its original position.
FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: When should I replace my Car’s Ball Joints?
Now, to replace the ball joints, you’ll first have to learn how to identify worn-out ball joints. The first way you can identify a worn-out ball joint is when you suspect uneven tire wear. Other signs include abnormal steering problems, a knocking noise when driving, vibrations, wobbling, and difficulty controlling the vehicle. So, if you suspect any of these symptoms, then it clearly means that it’s time to replace your car’s ball joints.
Q2: Can I Replace the Ball Joints on my own?
First and foremost, ball joints are very delicate in terms of their role and where they’re fitted. Since you have to disassemble the entire wheel, braking, and hub system just to reach them, this process alone demands a lot of technical know-how. Also, you need to have the right-hand tools to accomplish this to avoid tampering with other wheel assemblies when replacing the ball joints.
So, with that in mind, you have to ask yourself whether your home garage is feasible enough to have the job done. You also need to have detailed information in the form of a manual or an instructional video to ensure that you follow the steps to the latter.
Q3: Is a Damaged Ball Joint Serious?
Yes, it is. In fact, most of the accidents that occur annually are caused by worn-out ball joints that have completely given off. Thankfully, before they can get to the climax of their worn-out state, they will show some noticeable signs such as wobbling, vibrations, tire wear, and flopping wheel alignment. So, to prevent the situation from getting any worse, it’s wise to attend the issue early enough before the situations get any dire.
Q4: Which Ball Joints Get’s Worn Out First?
Now, the answer to this question is specifically directed to those people with Jeep models that rely on both the upper and lower ball joints. In such a situation, the lower ball joint is the one that shoulders the greatest weight of the large wheels hence the one that gets worn out faster.
Additionally, the lower ball joint is the one that handles the shock developed by your Jeep when you run over a bump or get to a ditch. Due to that reason, this ball joint should be inspected regularly for any signs of metal fatigue. About the upper ball joint, this one only serves as a pivot.
Q5: After Installation, How Frequent Should I Grease the Ball Joints?
From our reviews, most of the manufacturers advertise their ball joints as pre-greased. Although it’s an added advantage, that doesn’t mean you should neglect the ball joints throughout their lifetime. So, to maintain a smooth flawless performance, you’re required to grease them at least two times a year. You can do this when changing your Jeep’s engine oil just to ensure a smooth operation.
Finally, after reviewing all the ten best ball joints for Jeep JK, it’s clear that quality can never be neglected when it comes to taking care of your car’s performance. Although some balls are quite expensive, choosing them over their factory-fitted counterparts is one way that you can guarantee the longevity and smooth drivability of your Jeep.
Now, other than just reviewing the best ball joints, this guide has also included some detailed information that will guide you in making an informed decision. Finally, and importantly, in case you feel like we’ve left out anything, or maybe you wish to add something on what we’ve already mentioned, then you’re free to share them out in the comment section just below.