The 7 Best Ball Joint Tool Sets

Updated April 23, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

7 Best Ball Joint Tool Sets
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Whether you are a professional auto mechanic or like to do your own repairs on your car, truck, or SUV, at some point you're going to need a ball joint tool set. These presses will work on upper and lower ball joints, can be used to remove and replace the universal joints in many vehicles, and some even let you work on a trucks' brake anchor pins, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best ball joint tool set on Amazon.

7. 8milelake SZ6301B

With just seven pieces, the 8milelake SZ6301B allows you to simply remove or install the spherical bearings in vehicles made since 1967. It comes packed in a secure storage case, and its components are specifically designed to service four-wheel drive models.
  • feels very sturdy
  • includes three receiver tube sizes
  • c-frame is too small for some uses
Brand 8milelake
Model SZ6301B
Weight 18.1 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

6. ATD Tools 8699

You can use the relatively affordable yet well-made ATD Tools 8699 for everything from removing and installing spherical bearings to servicing U-joints and working on a truck's brake anchor pins. It includes a handy red molded storage case.
  • heavy-duty steel and cast metal
  • works for classic and modern cars
  • case could be more durable
Brand ATD Tools
Model 8699
Weight 31.1 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. Cal-Hawk Deluxe Service Kit

The Cal-Hawk Deluxe Service Kit is designed for repairing and/or replacing the joints in both two and four-wheel drive vehicles. It's a great option if you've got a rugged truck or SUV with press-fit parts that need some work.
  • high impact blow-molded storage case
  • affordable price point
  • may require supplemental tools
Brand Cal-Hawk
Model pending
Weight 16.6 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Alltrade 648617 Kit #46

The Alltrade 648617 Kit #46 is a great choice for the DIY enthusiast, not least because it comes with a detailed and informative step-by-step usage guide. It includes everything you need for removal and replacement to keep your wheels in safe operation.
  • can also be used on u-joints
  • allows control arm to stay in place
  • hard to use on damaged components
Brand Alltrade
Model 648617
Weight 30.4 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. OTC 8031

The OTC 8031 is specially designed for use with a Jeep or a truck, though it's versatile enough to work with a wide variety of vehicles. It includes a large C-frame with a replaceable forcing screw tip and 19 adapters for myriad applications.
  • suitable for professional use
  • comes with an application chart
  • works well on corroded components
Brand OTC
Model 8031
Weight 53 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Astro Pneumatic 7897

The Astro Pneumatic 7897 comes in a blue carrying case and includes all the receiver tubes and adapters needed for work on press-fit bearings. It's designed for large GM, Ford, and Dodge models through 1997, but it's suitable for use on many other vehicles as well.
  • carbon steel components
  • c-frame works on universal joints
  • very smooth forcing screw threads
Brand Astro Pneumatic Tool
Model 7897
Weight 32.2 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. OTC 6559

Though it is expensive, the OTC 6559 is the kit you'll need if you're a professional mechanic working on all types of cars and trucks. It is truly universal, with over 70 adapters and a comprehensive application guide that covers most vehicles through 2008.
  • packs into two secure storage cases
  • includes step-by-step instructions
  • ample 6-and-a-half-inch c-frame
Brand OTC
Model 6559
Weight 87.3 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Choosing the Right Ball Joint Tool Set

The price tag of a top-of-the-line ball joint tool set may be a bit off-putting to some people at first glance, but it will seem much less daunting when you know a thing or two about the potential costs of professional ball joint repair or replacement. For indeed even a great ball joint tool kit will cost you a fraction of the expense of having your vehicle's ball joints serviced by a mechanic. And if you settle for a midrange ball joint tool kit, you stand to pay ten times less than you would for a repair conducted by a professional.

Unlike many tool kits, such as a set of socket wrenches, for example, tools designed for servicing ball joints are purpose-built and serve few if any other purposes. That's not a limitation, though, but rather a liberation: you don't buy a ball joint tool set for an other purpose than repairing or replacing this specific type of hardware, so you are free to shop based on tool quality and set price without worrying about range of function or versatility.

Any ball joint kit worth your consideration will have a large C-frame press and a thick screw that can be threaded through said frame. Some kits contain larger C-frames than others, and these larger frames may be necessary if you plan to work on certain trucks, Jeeps, or SUVs with larger ball joint components. Most kits will come with a half dozen or so adapters, while others will come with more than a dozen and a half adapters. In other words, while all ball joint kits tend to have similar parts included, some of these parts are specially designed for larger vehicles, and some kits simply include more variations of the same type of component. If you know precisely for which vehicle you are buying a set, then there's no reason to own parts that won't work with it; if you're a mechanic who works on all sorts of vehicles, then by all means opt for the larger, more expansive set.

Also don't overlook the importance of the instructions and charts that come with a given ball joint tool kit. Some sets come with easy-to-use, graphically illustrated guides, while others include tools and a case only. If you're not an experienced DIY car repairman or a trained professional, then do yourself a favor and opt for a kit with a manual.

What Exactly Is a Ball Joint, Anyway?

If you're not quite clear on what a ball joint is, you're probably getting ahead of yourself in terms of considering a tool kit purpose built to service these components. However, anyone dedicated to learning DIY vehicle repairs and maintenance will need to learn all about ball joints at some point, and if you prefer to dive into a hobby with both feet, you might as well learn fast and then acquire the tools you'll need to apply your new knowledge.

Simply put, a ball joint is a ball-shaped (usually called "spherical" by automotive pros) bearing that connects a control arm of your vehicle's steering knuckles (which are connected directly to the wheel assembly) to the automobile's suspension system. Because ball joints allow for a decent range of motion, they can help transfer the input you give by turning the wheel -- also known as steering -- to the wheels themselves even as the car bounces around over potholes, debris, speed bumps, and so forth. Because the ball joint flexes about, the car remains under control even as the suspension system moves up and down while mitigating the jostling caused by road and driving conditions.

Without a ball joint, your car's shock absorbers would be essentially pointless and your car would be as rigid and rickety as a horse-drawn carriage from centuries past. The location and responsibility of the ball joint also sees an exceptional amount of pressure put on this diminutive component, so ensuring that all the ball joints in your vehicle are in good repair and working properly is of immense importance for safe driving. Learn how to inspect and manage these joints yourself, or else have a trusted mechanic inspect your car's ball joints on at least an annual basis.

How to Tell If Your Ball Joints Are Bad

Whether or not you are planning to repair or replace the ball joints in your car, truck, or SUV yourself using your handy ball joint tools, or if you are going to take the vehicle to the mechanic to let the professionals handle the maintenance, if you suspect your car's ball joints are damaged or wearing out, don't delay in servicing these all-important components. A failed ball joint can lead to much more costly repairs involving the wheel, axle, steering knuckles, and more, and can also create an extreme safety hazard should a joint fail while you are driving at speed on a highway or in traffic.

When a ball joint fails, the wheel to which it is attached can fold under the vehicle, causing the driver to lose control and resulting in a catastrophic crash in the worst case scenario. In the best case situation, a failed ball joint will still lead to a pricey repair. So catch the joints before they fail.

One of the telltale signs of a ball joint nearing the end of its operations life is uneven wear on your tires. If you notice "feathering" wear on your tires -- when when the tread ribbing is worn down more and/or worn more smoothly on one side of the tire than on the other -- the ball joint (or joints) connected to that wheel may be failing.

Also listen for clunking noises emanating from your wheels, especially as your drive over uneven roads or over obstacles like train tracks or small speed bumps. The knocking noise may be the spherical bearing of the weakened ball joint colliding with the frame into which it should fit snugly.

A surefire way to tell if a ball joint is failing is to lift the vehicle up -- ideally using a full-sized hydraulic press that can elevate the car off the ground, but a jack and jack stand combination will suffice as well -- and to apply a bit of torque pressure to the ball joint itself. If it can be moved up and down and/or back and further, depending on its orientation, the component is likely worn beyond safe the limit of operation and must be replaced.



Statistics and Editorial Log

0
Paid Placements
5
Editors
43
Hours
12,333
Users
25
Revisions

Wiki Granular Update & Revision Log


help support our research


Patreonlogoorange psj5g7Wiki ezvid low poly earth xdypeb

Last updated on April 23, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.


Thanks for reading the fine print. About the Wiki: We don't accept sponsorships, free goods, samples, promotional products, or other benefits from any of the product brands featured on this page, except in cases where those brands are manufactured by the retailer to which we are linking. For our full ranking methodology, please read about us, linked below. The Wiki is a participant in associate programs from Amazon, Walmart, Ebay, Target, and others, and may earn advertising fees when you use our links to these websites. These fees will not increase your purchase price, which will be the same as any direct visitor to the merchant’s website. If you believe that your product should be included in this review, you may contact us, but we cannot guarantee a response, even if you send us flowers.