Why You Need a Ball Joint Tool for Your Polaris RZR

Photo of Polaris RZR XP 900 with Ball Joint Tool & aftermarket accessories Terrain Vehicle (ATV). Photo taken during the 20th Balloon Fiesta at Clark Air Field in Pampanga

Keeping your Polaris RZR in good condition comes as vital as it should be. Constantly checking it over and keeping up works just fine. Make sure that the routine maintenance for everything does proper work. After all, you put it through a lot as you ride off-road, on rough terrain, and through harsh conditions.

Simply going for a smooth ride on well-ridden paths makes your primary goal. However, ensuring you won’t get stuck on the trail with a broken-down vehicle stands as a safety objective.

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There are many moving parts and intricate details that go into every vehicle, regardless of what it is designed to do. Every part must work properly, or your vehicle won’t work. This is especially true for the suspension.

Your Task

Repaired Polaris RZR on a DiamondBack Truck Cover with Ball Joint Tools
Image: CC by A-SA 2.0, DiamondBack Truck Covers, via Flickr

The suspension system is made up of all the parts that help you control your vehicle. It allows you to move, steer, and manage the rough terrain that makes up off-roading. In fact, the RZR, in particular, is known for its superior suspension. In an off-road vehicle, the friction between the road and tire is essential.

The same goes for your overall experience. Most noteworthy, the suspension remains all about it. When something goes wrong with the suspension, it could be catastrophic depending on where the failure occurs. Specifically, you have to pay attention to the ball joints. If they fail, you could end up crashing due to the inability to control your RZR.

This means you need to learn more about how ball joints work. Furthermore, knowing the signs they are failing, and how you can change them appears to be very significant. Using a ball joint tool designed for the Polaris RZR makes a great choice!

What Is a Ball Joint Tool?

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As you are about to learn, a ball joint tool is an essential component to changing your RZR’s ball joints. You will need this tool to help you get the old ball joint out. This allows you to replace it with a new one. Once you learn a bit more about ball joints, it will be easy to see why you must have a ball joint tool. Knowing how they work, and how they are contained comes in handy.

Why You Need One

Your vehicle’s ball joints are part of the suspension system and are found on every vehicle. As the name suggests, they are a ball-shaped part that works a lot like the joints in your body. They fit into a socket and allow for movement. Movement equals a critical part of the suspension and what makes it work properly.

If movement is restricted or limited, you will notice a difference in the way your vehicle handles. The ball joint, specifically, allows the wheels to move up and down and side to side. The ball joint stays located at the point where the steering knuckle meets the control arm.

Signs of Failing Ball Joints

An inner tie rod end cut open to expose the ball joint
Image: Public Domain U.S. lemonnn, via Wikipedia Commons

There is one on each side, and they help the steering knuckle to move fluidly. At the same time, also holding the control arm steady. If a ball joint fails or stops working, it will no longer allow everything to operate easily. You may notice certain signs before your ball joints completely fail.

These include:

  • Vibrations – As a ball joint starts to fail, you may feel excessive vibrations in the front end. As they wear, they can become loose, which is what causes the vibrations to occur. Typically, one ball joint will go out, so you will probably feel vibrations only on the side of the failing joint. You may even feel it in your steering wheel.
  • Loose steering – When ball joints go bad, they can no longer properly hold your suspension, so you may start to feel your steering loosen up. It may drift on its own or be more difficult to control. Because it takes longer to react to a loose steering wheel, you will have to be more on top of controlling your steering and compensate for the looseness.
  • Clunking – With loose joints, you may hear clunking noises. The ball joints may start to rattle in the housing where they sit, leading to knocking or clunking as you drive. This will be especially noticeable when moving over rougher terrain. The noise will also become increasingly louder until the ball joints completely fail.

Signs of Failing Ball Joints

Micro hexapod ball joint tool next to ceramic mug
Image: CC by A-SA 3.0, Mdankowych, via Wikipedia Commons

Often the signs of failure are rather mild at first. You may notice a slight noise. Your steering wheel may feel slightly off.  Also, you may only notice issues when hitting potholes or when driving on an especially rough terrain. Over time, the signs become harder to ignore and much more noticeable. Testing them works fine as the easiest way to tell if you have bad ball joints

Just jack up your vehicle and shake the wheels up and down. They shouldn’t give too easily. If they do, then you probably have a bad ball joint.  The issue with ball joints occurs due to its permanent lubrication and seal. However, permanent lubrication has a lifespan. Since they are sealed, you cannot just add more lubrication to them. Over time the lubrication naturally wears out as the ball cracks or breaks. In any moving part, lubrication is essential.

If there isn’t any, then it is very easy for impurities such as dust to get into the joint. When this happens, the joint fails. When the joint fails, it puts your whole suspension out of whack. Eventually, it will completely stop working which will result in you losing the ability to control your RZR’s steering. It also will lead to additional wear and possible damage to other parts within your suspension.

How To Change a Ball Joint

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The process of changing a ball joint is not really that difficult. Except for one part of the procedure. Since replacement costs vary from between $120 to over $450, you may want to do the job yourself. This saves some time and money. It is not tough to change the ball joint out. Due to the reason that they transpire in a relatively easy-to-get-to area of your vehicle once you have it jacked up.

Replace Your Bad Ball Joints

Installing the New Joint to Replace the old ball joint
Image: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 by Wikivisual, via WikiHow

Before getting into exactly how to change the ball joint, here is one tip. Ball joints come in pairs. Typically, if one ball joint fails, it means the other is probably going to fail in the very near future. When you change out one ball joint, a good practice comes with changing out the other one at the same time. Now, here are the steps you will take to replace your bad ball joint:

  • Remove the wheel on the side on which you are working.
  • Second, remove the control arm to give you access to the ball joint.
  • Third, remove the old ball joint.
  • Lastly, put in the new ball joint.

Now, this seems very straightforward and easy. However, the third step of removing the old ball joint seems to be problematic. The ball joint implies a set in a tapered hole and is tightly sealed. They do not just snap in and out easily. This is where the ball joint tool comes in. This tool comes efficiently for removing the ball joint easily. Attaching the tool to the ball joint area eases the old ball joint out of the hole.

Your Tools

People who do not have a tool will often use a hammer. The old ball joint out happens with its own issues.  This damages surrounding areas and takes a long time. There occurs far less frustration and stress if you just use a ball joint tool. Once you have replaced the ball joint, you will probably need a mechanic. The ball joints affect the alignment of your vehicle. Replacing them surely throws your alignment off.

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A vehicle that is out of alignment will pull to one side and not handle the way it should. Not to mention, driving with a bad alignment causes excessive wear on your suspension. This reduces the life of the ball joints you just replaced. So, taking your Polaris RZR into a mechanic to get it aligned appears to be the solution.

One does this on a machine that you probably don’t have access to yourself. However, good news reaches both the owner and mechanic when alignment services are usually very affordable.

Conclusion

Polaris RZR XP 900 with ball joint tools aftermarket accessories
Image: CC by A-SA 4.0, Tsward318, via Wikipedia Commons

Your ball joints signify an essential component of your suspension system. When they go bad, your whole vehicle affects the ride. Sequentially, your safety gets at risk. A failing ball joint replacement deems necessary as soon as possible. You can do this yourself, but the job makes it much easier. Only if you buy a ball joint tool. This tool makes it simple to remove the old ball joint. This task seems frustrating to do without it.

Buying your Polaris RZR tool makes yourself a wise rider. You will be very happy once you get into the repair. This tool makes removal quick and easy. In the end, you get the ball joint changed out. Get your RZR back into top condition in no time and enjoy off-roading safely again.

 

Featured Image: CC by A-SA 4.0, Tsward318, via Wikipedia Commons

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