Its important for every car owners to maintain their car by doing a fluid change when due or replacing a worn out or damaged parts. A worn out ball joint will not just break like that. Before it breaks, there must be signs which the driver ignored. Therefore, what happens if a ball joint breaks while driving?
If a ball joint breaks while driving, the wheel will fold into the fender causing you to loose control of the steering. You will no longer be able to steer the car which may lead to a crash if you are on a speed.
Can a Ball Joint Breaks While Driving?
Yes, a ball joint can break while driving. In fact, “ball joints can only break while driving”. I’ve never seen a ball joint that breaks while the car is parked, the car has to be in motion before it can break.
Before a ball joint finally breaks while driving, it must have given the driver warning or signs to show that it’s going bad. It can only break if the signs are ignored.
Ball joints makes disturbing noise when it goes bad. If you ignore the noise and continue driving with it, you may end up having a broken ball joint which is quite disadvantageous because, it can happen in the middle of no where and end up spoiling other parts of the car.
What Happens If a Ball Joint Breaks While Driving?
Here are what happens if a ball joint breaks while driving:
1. The Wheel Will Fold into the Fender
If a ball joint breaks while driving, it can cause the wheel to fold into the fender preventing it from spinning the way it should. This is very dangerous if you are on a high speed.
I’ve never had a broken ball joints but I have a friend whose driver side 2008 Honda Accord ball joint broke while driving. He was going on a very low speed to pass a pothole when the breakage happened causing the wheel to fold into the fender.
Imagine if he was on a high speed when the breakage happened. According to him, he had to use the brakes immediately to put the car to a stop to avoid damaging or bending the fender.
2. Loss of Steering Control
Since ball joints are part of the suspension that connects the control arms of the car to the steering which allows the front wheel and suspension to move in different directions, if the ball joints breaks while driving, it can cause the driver to loose control of the steering.
You will no longer be able to steer the car to the direction of your choice. Since the wheel is folded into the fender, and the ball joint is broken, you will loose control of the steering thereby causing the car to move in different directions.
If the wheel eventually find itself into the fender, the car will find it difficult moving. At this point, you’re required to use the brake pedals to stop the car to avoid bending the fender.
3. It Can Lead to an Accident
If a ball joint breaks while driving, it can lead to an accident especially if you are on a high speed when it happened. If the wheel find itself into the fender and not able to rotate at that high speed coupled with loos of steering control, it can lead an accident.
4. The Wheel Won’t Move Straight
If a ball joint breaks while driving, the wheel won’t be able to move straight because the ball joint which acts as a hinge to the wheels is broken.
Imagine not been able to steer your car that is not moving straight on a high speed, you may end up crashing into another vehicle.
5. It May Damage the Brake Hose
When a ball joint breaks while the car is in motion, many things could go wrong such as a damage on the brake hose.
If the wheel that folds into the fender fails to damage the hose, the force and other factors can aid to rip the brake hose off causing you to loose your brakes, and without your brakes, the car cannot come to a stop.
6. The Alignment will be Affected
Having your ball joint breaks while driving will Affect the alignment of your car and cause the car to drive rough. This is if you’re still able to drive the car. Steering a car with a broken ball joint is very difficult. You may end up damaging more parts than usual.
7. You May Damage Your Suspension
Having a broken ball joint while driving on a high speed may damage the suspension of your car. Depending on how you were able to control the car when the incident occurred, it may end up damaging your suspension.
8. Your Tires May be Affected
Depending on the speed you were when the incident happened and how you’re able to control the car afterwards, it may cause more wear and tear to your tire, thereby reducing the lifespan.
How Long Can You Drive with a Broken Ball Joint?
You should never driving with a broken ball joint to avoid causing more damage to the car.
While you may still be able to drive a few miles with a bad ball joint, when the ball joint is broken, the vehicle should not be driven until the ball joint is replaced to avoid bending the fender, ripping your brake hose, and causing an accident on the road, etc.
What Causes Ball Joints to Break While Driving?
The causes of ball joint breakage while driving are:
- Old Age: Even though ball joints are made to last for a very long time, it is however not made to last forever. If the ball joint has been in use for a very long, it can get old and break. Therefore, old age can cause the ball joint to break while driving.
- Wear and Tear: Ball joints are prone to wear and tear. Since it has been in use for a very long time, chances are that, it must have sustained more wear and tear in the long run which can cause it to break if its not quickly replaced.
- Rust: Rust is one of the things that can cause catastrophic damage to the ball joints and can cause it to break while the car is in motion. Therefore, you should pay attention to your ball joints to ensure its not rusted. If it does, have it replaced immediately.
- Potholes: This is one of the reasons why a ball joint can break while driving, especially ball joints that are already weak with visible signs. It will start from the rubber to the ball joint itself. If its not replaced as soon as possible, it can break while on motion.
- Road Debris: Road debris that are lodged between the vehicle’s tire ball joints and its mount frame can cause the ball joint to break overtime.
Disadvantages of Driving with a Broken Ball Joint
Below are the disadvantages of driving with a broken ball joint:
- You may end up damaging or bending your fender if the wheel fold into the fender. It can spoil the fender and cause you more money to fix.
- You will loose control of your steering causing the car to move at different direction you may not want
- You may rip or damage your brake hose
- You can end up crashing into another vehicle and kill someone
- You will incur more damage to your car especially when the vehicle is on high speed
- The cars alignment will be affected
Having your ball joint break while driving is very risky. It is something you should never pray to experience because it can lead to a crash that may cost people lives.
Since the ball joints works with the steering, you loose the steering control, the wheel will fold into the fender, and may end up having a ripped brake hose. Always replace your ball joints once it starts giving you signs to avoid stories that touch.