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The ball joint is the articulating connection between the control arm and the knuckle/spindle. It allows the assembly to move up and down in response to road and suspension movement, while at the same time enabling the knuckle/spindle to move horizontally as the vehicle is steered. OE ball joints are designed for the stresses and operating angles of typical street driving, but they’re inadequate for the demands of racing and spirited performance motoring.

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A performance ball joint should have several important qualities. It must have the strength to reliably perform under severe operating conditions, and maintain precise operating clearances without causing excessive friction that could affect steering and suspension response. And because the ride height of performance vehicles is frequently altered, some applications must have adjustable features to accommodate the change in suspension geometry.

To consistently handle the forces imposed by racing and high speed driving, especially over rough terrain, performance ball joints are typically constructed from premium materials and have forged steel housings and chrome moly steel ball studs. The dust boot may have external metal sealing rings to make sure it and the lubricant contained within remains on the joint for long component life. To operate effectively with the increased range of suspension movement typical of racing and high speed driving conditions, especially off-roading, performance ball joints commonly have high ball stud articulation angles.

All ball joints have designed in operating tolerances for the ball stud within the ball joint housing. If clearance is excessive, it can cause noise, and steering response and handling can be negatively affected. However, a joint that is too tight and has excessive friction can bind, which can also adversely affect steering and handling. Performance ball joints typically produce less friction and operate more smoothly than their OE counterparts, and the preload on some performance ball joints is adjustable to set the level of friction.

When vehicle ride height is altered, such as when a car is lowered or a 4WD truck is lifted, suspension geometry can be changed to the point where the OE alignment adjustment features can’t provide the desired camber and caster settings. Some performance ball joints are specially designed for specific applications to provide the desired adjustability. This may take the form of an offset housing or eccentric ball stud. Roll center can be significantly changed when a car is lowered, resulting in traction loss and poor handling. Performance ball joints with longer shafts can be used to correct roll center height.

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Guides & Articles

  • Performance Parts
    Very often we don't even realize what a crucial role a car's suspension plays in providing a safe and comfortable ride. The system maximizes the friction between the road surface and your vehicle's tires, ensuring steering stability along with responsive handling.
  • Performance Parts
    The very first thing to know about timely suspension system diagnosis is that the stability and steering control of your vehicle and, what is more important, your safety on the road depends on how often you make it. Automotive suspension belongs to one of those car systems that are constantly exposed to high loads and thus are prone to wear and tear. Most specialists recommend inspecting suspension system after every 6,500-7,500 miles or when there are any signs of its breakage.
  • Performance Parts
    Lowering is high on the list of many people who want to improve the appearance of their car. If you want to lower your car with the coil springs, then replacing them with lowering springs is the way to go. But what if you want to lower your car and also make it handle better? If that’s your goal then consider coil-over shocks.

Performance Ball Joints Reviews

Average rating:  5  4.8 - 15 reviews
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4.3 of 5
2000 Ford Explorer / Posted by Frank (Las Vegas, NV) /


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