Ball joints are the suspension component of your Jeep Cherokee. Over time, the ball joints get worn out and become loose. So, that time you should replace the ball joints to their proper functionality.
If you witness the ball joints fail to operate properly, the article will help you to know the Jeep Cherokee ball joints replacement procedure. Also, you learn more about the component throughout the article.
What Do Ball Joints Do On A Jeep Cherokee?
Ball joints are a part of your car’s suspension system. The ball joint acts as a pivot. You can compare it with the human hip joint. It forms with a socket and bearing stud, which fit snugly inside a lubricated casing.
You will get at least one ball joint per front wheel, and in some cases, you will get two ball joints, upper and lower.
The steering knuckles are attached to the control arms or axle, allowing them to move radially. It will enable you to turn your wheel back and forth and the suspension to move.
What Causes Ball Joints To Go Bad In Jeep Cherokee?
Here are some possible reasons why your Jeep Cherokee ball joints go bad:
- Driving the vehicle on bumpy or uneven road surfaces for a long time
- The ball joint’s boot ruptured, allowing all grease to leak, moisture, and dirt to get inside.
- The metal-to-metal contact wears it out if the ball joints are not lubricated.
How To Check If A Ball Joint Is Bad?
Follow the below methods to check whether your car ball joint is working correctly or not:
Method 1: Get bits of help from an assistant and ask him to turn the steering wheel, and you will hear a clunk sound from the ball joints, which indicates a malfunction on the ball joints.
Method 2: First, jack up your jeep using a jack stand. Both tires should be securely off the ground. Grab the top and bottom of a tire and wiggle it back and forth, pushing in and out. The tire should be solid, and no movement will occur if the ball joint is in good condition.
But, if you feel some movement or clicking filling, something unusual happens. It might come due to a bad ball joint or an adjustable ball joint out of whack.
Method 3: After jacking up the vehicle, take a crowbar or some long bar, and insert it under the tire. Push the bar up. If you notice any clicking, your Jeep faces an issue with ball joints.
Why Replace Jeep Cherokee Ball Joints?
Sometimes, the ball joints can pop out from their socket if you don’t replace them if they go bad. When that happens, the contact between the spindle and the suspension system will be missing. This leads the vehicle to belly flop on the ground or goes out of control, and you need to stand.
Also, if the ball joint misaligns, you will find it hard to move the wheel. So, if you detect your vehicle ball joint has malfunctioned, you should replace it if needed or take a further step to solve it.
How To Replace Jeep Cherokee Ball Joints?
If you don’t have mechanical knowledge of your Jeep Cherokee suspension and brake components, you should take help from a professional to do the replacement process properly.
However, if you have the right tools and have enough confidence that you can change the ball joints, below is a brief guide on how to remove and replace ball joints.
- Jack stand
- Pickle fork
- Needle nose pliers
- Ball Joint Press
- Pry bar
- 12, 19, 22, and 36 mm Socket, ratchet, and breaker bar
Step 1: Remove The Wheel
Raise your vehicle using a jack stand. The front wheels should be off from the ground. Then, remove the front wheel lug nuts, cotter pin, and axle nut. For this step, you need to use a 19 mm socket, nose pliers, 36 mm socket with a breaker bar.
Step 2: Remove The Caliper And Rotor
After removing the wheel:
- Dismount the caliper. For this, use a 12 mm socket or wrench to remove the bolts which attach the caliper to the spindle.
- After removing the bolts, pull the caliper towards and remove it.
- After removing it, use zip ties or mechanics wire to hang it up.
Step 3: Remove The Rotor
Now, spray on the rotor where it meets with the hub as rust builds up over time. Now, take a hammer and tap on it. Then, pull out the rotor using your hand.
Step 4: Removing The Hub And Axle shaft
Remove the three bolts from the hub using a 12-point 13mm socket which secures the wheel hub to the spindle. If needed, use rust penetrant spray around the hub contact points before removing the nuts.
After removing the nuts, tap the axle using a hammer. Then, tap the hub from behind to separate it from the spindle.
Then, remove the cotter pins and nuts using a 22 mm socket to remove the axle shaft. After removing the nuts, you can remove the entire thing in one piece.
After removing the axle shaft, the fluid will start leaking. So, use a paper towel or anything to seal the leak.
Step 5: Remove the lower and upper ball joint
Take a 28 mm socket and a breaker bar to remove the nut from the lower ball joint.
Then, use a pickle fork between the upper ball joint and the spindle and separate the spindle from the axle.
Then, set up a ball joint press. Sometimes you need to change the configuration of the ball joint press to push the ball joint. You need to figure out where you need the adapter. You must press the top joint upwards and the lower ball joint downwards.
After proper setup, use a 22 mm socket and ratchet to press the ball joint out of the axle and remove both.
Step 6: Install new ball joints
Now, insert the new ball joint into the upper spindle and set up the ball with the ball joint press. Then, use a 22 mm socket and ratchet to press the ball joint into the spindle.
Bring the ball joint down until its bottom slot exposes on the axle. Then, do a similar process for the lowball joint.
Step 7: Put Everything Back
After properly installing the ball joints, follow the reverse procedure. Also, don’t forget to grease the ball joint, rotor, and clipper.
Note: If you do the replacement process by yourself, you may need to take the vehicle to a repair shop for wheel alignment. You need heavy machinery that mobile mechanics also do not have.
What Happens If A Ball Joint Breaks While Driving?
You will face difficulty driving with a faulty ball joint as you will face difficulty moving the wheel of your Jeep Cherokee. Also, if the ball joint breaks while driving causing this, your vehicle’s front suspension might go apart, and the car will lose control.
Can I Replace The Ball Joints Myself?
You can replace ball joints if you have mechanical knowledge of suspension and wheel assembly. Also, you need to have a lot of patience as the task is time-consuming. So, if you have access to the necessary tool and can tackle the suspension component, you can change ball joints at home.
How Long Does It Take To Change Ball Joints On A Jeep Cherokee?
It depends on you. Generally, the Jeep Cherokee ball joints replacement process will take around 1 hour if you have enough expertise in this field and without any hangups. But, the time may increase to 5 hours if you run into hangups. So, be sure to leave yourself some time when replacing the part.
How Much Does A Jeep Cherokee Ball Joint Replacement Cost?
The replacement cost will vary according to your Jeep Cherokee year and your certain location. It costs an average of $450 to replace a ball joint on a Jeep Cherokee. A good quality ball joint will cost you between $106 and $112, and the estimated labor cost will be from $273 to $323.
The ball joint will last more than 70,000 miles in the Jeep Cherokee. So you will not see an issue with the parts regularly. But you need to replace it when it fails to function properly. In such a condition, the above guide will help you do the Jeep Cherokee ball joints replacement process if you want.
I am Rick Bofia, a Jeep mechanic with a wealth of experience in repairing and maintaining Jeeps of all models and ages. I take pride in my expertise in diagnosing and repairing complex Jeep problems, from engine and transmission issues to suspension and brake system repairs. My passion for Jeeps and my dedication to delivering top-quality services have earned me a reputation as a reliable and trustworthy mechanic in the Jeep community. Whether you need routine maintenance or major repairs, you can trust me to get your Jeep back on the road in optimal condition.