Roadsafe takes a look at vehicle ball joints

Vehicle ball joints are not all the same. Some are load carrying tension joints where the main force is applied in tension, some are locating, and some are load carrying compression where the joints suffer the majority of the forces in compression.
Some then are made in a mechanical (hard to hard) style and some are an encapsulated design.
For each ball joint application and vehicle suspension design, a particular type of manufacture is required.
Some aftermarket manufacturers employ a ‘one size fits all’ rule but Roadsafe says it examines carefully the loads and forces applied for each ball joint to ensure the best type and style of manufacture is utilised.
Hard to hard ball joints are effectively a metal to metal design relying on grease as a lubricant between the hardened surface of the ball stud and the housing. These also usually have some type of spring in them so are often erroneously condemned for having vertical movement, says Roadsafe.
It explains that in this style ball joint, depending on manufacture style, a small amount of vertical movement in an unloaded condition is acceptable. There should be no discernible movement in an encapsulated design ball joint.
Then there are tie rod ends where again one size does not fit all. Road going cars need quiet, maintenance free tie rod ends with good side load strength, so encapsulated is the best here, says Roadsafe.
4WD tie rod ends however have additional loads and sometimes impact loads so an extended wall greasable tie rod end is best for 4WD applications.
Roadsafe says it continually strives to deliver the best quality product at an affordable price in addition to manufacturing in a style that best suits the vehicle needs.

For more information, contact Roadsafe National Sales Manager, Peter Taylor, on 0423 377 007 or visit