How to Change a Ball Joint in a Honda Accordby Nathaniel Miller
Changing the lower ball joint on a Honda Accord requires using a special press tool and a large machinist vise. The lower ball joints are the only units that can be replaced separately on the Accord. If you find that your Honda also needs upper ball joints, you must replace the entire upper control arm assembly. With good instructions and moderate mechanic skills, you can change the lower ball joints yourself, saving a lot of money in labor costs at a dealership.
Chock the rear wheels and set the parking brake. Using the 2-ton floor jack, hoist the Honda Accord's front wheels, one side at a time, and support the car with the jack stands.
Place the floor jack or a smaller hydraulic jack under the lower control arm, and raise it slightly, approximately 2 inches.
Place one hand on top of the tire and the other hand on the bottom of the tire. Try to move the entire wheel assembly back and forth. If you can observe movement at the lower portion of the tire, the lower ball joint is probably bad. You can confirm this by using a pry bar between the steering knuckle and the lower control arm. If movement is present, the lower ball joint must be replaced. (If movement is present at the upper portion of the wheel, the upper ball joint is probably bad and the entire upper control arm must be replaced.)
Use the lug wrench to turn the lug nuts on the front wheel counterclockwise; lift off the wheel and set it aside.
Use the box-end wrenches to loosen the bolts that hold the brake caliper assembly in place, and remove the caliper and rotor from the steering knuckle assembly. Support the caliper with your hand so you don't damage the brake line.
Disconnect and remove the steering knuckle assembly from the vehicle with the box-end wrenches. Make sure that you do not damage the splines on the steering knuckle assembly.
Use a screwdriver to pry the snap ring out of the retaining groove that holds the ball joint boot in place. Be careful not to damage the rubber boot.
Remove the ball joint rubber boot by hand and inspect it. If there are any punctures, cracks or tears, discard the boot and replace it with a new one.
Remove the ball joint castle nut with a box-end wrench, and place the ball joint removal/installation tool around the ball joint spindle. Using the removal tool, tighten the castle nut with the large end facing outward.
Place the steering knuckle assembly into the machinist vise. Tighten the vise to force the ball joint out of the steering knuckle assembly.
Use clean rags to wipe all parts clean of any dirt or debris.
Place the new ball joint into the hole of the steering knuckle assembly.
Place the steering knuckle assembly in the vise for installation. Tighten the vise to force the replacement ball joint back into the steering knuckle assembly.
Fill the rubber ball joint boot with grease from the grease gun.
Use the boot clip guide tool to install the tool so that the end aligns with the groove on the boot. Slip the clip over the ball joint boot, and secure the ball joint boot snap ring into the groove of the ball joint.
Install the steering knuckle assembly, brake rotor and brake caliper on the steering column, and torque them to proper specifications with the torque wrench. Place the wheel back on the assembly, and retighten the lug nuts with the lug wrench. Lower the car and remove the wheel chocks.
- Always make sure the vehicle is securely supported on jack stands before working around and or under a vehicle.
Items you will need
- Wheel chocks
- 2-ton floor jack
- 2 jack stands
- Pry bar
- Lug wrench
- Set of box-end wrenches
- Ball joint tool
- Machinist vise
- New ball joint
- Grease gun
- Boot clip guide tool
- Torque wrench