The ball joint in the Volkswagen Jetta is essentially the main hinge of the suspension and steering. The joint is connected to the control arm and the steering knuckle and should not have any loose movement in that connection; if there is, you need to replace it. Replacing a ball joint is a difficult task that is very important to the car's operation, so talk with your mechanic beforehand.
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Things you need
- Jack stands
- Lug wrench
- Ball joint removal tool
Raise the car's front end and support it on jack stands, then remove the front wheel for the ball joint to be replaced.
Loosen the nut on the stud connecting the ball joint to the steering knuckle using an open-ended or flare-nut wrench. Loosen the nut by a few turns without removing it.
Break the seal between the ball joint and the steering knuckle by inserting a ball joint separator in between them. Try to use a tool other than a "picklefork" type separator, as that can damage the ball joint boot.
Remove the nut from the stud and separate the ball joint from the steering knuckle.
Mark the locations of the ball joint retaining bolt heads on the control arm. Use washable paint or chalk.
Unscrew the joint's retaining bolts, remove the retaining plate from the top end of the control arm and disconnect the ball joint from the arm.
Line up the bolt heads with the replacement ball joint to the control arm using the marks as you connect the joint to the arm. Tighten the retaining bolts, giving the wrench an extra 90-degree turn after tightening to the recommended torque.
Connect the steering knuckle to the ball joint stud and tighten the nut.
Reconnect the wheel and lower the car.
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