Today we attended breakdown in Tallebudgera of a Toyota Prado which the front lower ball joint had failed. This is a major breakdown. When a ball joint fails it allows the suspension and wheel to move uncontrolled. This vehicle had its right hand front wheel at 45deg and pushed back into the guard. This caused the vehicle to lose steering and lock up. At this point it was unable to be driven therefore had to be dragged to the side of the road. Luckily for the owner this accident did not result in a collision. This is where it was for our attendance.
This type of breakdown is avoidable. Ball joints generally give a lot of notice before failing. This car would have experienced symptoms such as: ‘knocking’ noises over bumps, wondering steering, uneven tyre wear. During all regular servicing the ball joints are inspected for freeplay/movement. If movement is found they should be replaced immediately. Its worth noting 4WD vehicles with lift kits installed are at higher risk of ball joint failure as the suspension lift changes the angle of the ball joints. This accelerates wear in the ball joint.
This vehicle had not been professionally serviced. The owner had changed his engine oil and believed that is all that a service required… wrong. During a service done by a professional, a full inspection is carried out. This is where a qualified and experienced mechanic would have found this wear long before it failed. You can see in the main pic the old failed ball joint assembly and the new unit.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or need your vehicle serviced contact a professional – Certified Automotive