The BMW 3-Series is one of the most sought-after car models of the popular BMW brand. It is renowned for its quick acceleration, high-end performance, smooth suspension system, and tight responsive steering that allows you to navigate through any terrain comfortably.
One significant component of your BMW’s suspension system is the ball joint. Although its size is like that of your fist, it can inflict enormous problems on your BMW once it breaks or wears out. Hence, it is important to keenly observe the condition of the ball joint of your BMW 3-Series and to ensure that all preventive maintenance measures are in place to guarantee its durability.
Outlined in this article are just a few common causes of a failing BMW 3-Series ball joint, as well as warning signs to inform you of its impending failure. But first, let’s analyze the role of the ball joint in your car’s suspension system.
The Role of the Ball Joint in your BMW 3-Series
The ball joint is an integral part of your BMW 3-Series suspension system. It acts as the component connecting all the moving and static parts of your car’s suspension system, which allows you to steer and efficiently control the car safely with the least amount of effort.
Its function is similar to that of the hip joint in humans. The ball joint of your BMW 3 Series is essential in delivering the smooth driving experience and precise control that car enthusiasts from around the world expect from the BMW brand.
On the occasion when your car’s ball joint fails, with the proper equipment and training, you can replace it yourself, but that is risky and not ideal. However, whenever you suspect a failing ball joint, it’s best to have it examined and replaced by an ASE-certified automotive expert to guarantee ultimate safety.
Common Causes of a Failed Ball Joint
- Environmental Factors: Environmental factors are the natural factors that can cause the ball joints to fail. Cars kept outside for prolonged periods will encounter various impacts of weather on their ball joints. Ball joints of cars subjected to high humidity as a result of rainy weather or engine steaming might begin to wear out and even crack over time. Hot weather is also detrimental because it will cause the oil within the ball joints to dry out, thereby creating debris that can cause the ball joints to malfunction.
- Dried Seals: Ball joint failure can also be caused by dried seals. To protect it from these endangering factors, the ball joint is encased in a series of seals. As these seals age, they begin to wear out, and as such, oil and dirt can enter the system and clog it up. This will eventually have a direct effect on the car’s steering ability.
- Wear and Tear: Wear and tear are natural causes of ball joint failure, especially in cars with high mileage or a history of off-roading. Ball joints are coated with a layer of grease that provides them with traction. This grease eventually wears off, eventually harming the ball joint. This makes steering difficult because it is difficult to rotate the joint in any direction.
- Warning Signs of a Failed Ball Joint: There are a few instances of sudden ball joint failure. However, it usually does not occur without warning. In order to prevent extensive problems, watch for these signs that may indicate that you need to maintain or service your ball joint.
- Wandering Steering: You may need to replace your ball joints if your vehicle starts to drift left to right. As long as the alignment is also in good shape, your steering wheel should remain mostly straight when the ball joints are in good condition, but worn-out ball joints make it more difficult for the steering wheel to stay straight and can cause it to start drifting.
- Front End Clunking Noise: Heavy clunking noises in the front end of your car are a common sign of problems with the ball joints. Wear and tear on the ball joint will cause it to loosen up and rattle in its socket. If you are driving on bumpy roads, over speed bumps, or when you turn, you may hear this clunking sound. As the wear gets worse, the noise will become louder, and eventually, the ball joint will completely break if left unattended.
Heynneman European for Expert BMW Repairs
With Heynneman European, you can expect a team of mechanics with over 70 years of combined experience to assist you in finding the right solution for your vehicle.
Heynneman European serves drivers from San Rafael as well as nearby areas, including Corte, Fairfax, Kentfield, Larkspur, Mill Valley, and San Anselmo.
You can count on our friendly staff to take care of routine maintenance or emergencies. If you would like to schedule your car’s next service appointment or have questions for our team, call or stop by our shop today.