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Old 05-15-2009, 03:40 PM
133 posts, read 474,659 times
Reputation: 87


I had one tire changed on my 2000 Maxima, and the tire (front driver) was in pretty bad shape overall; very little tread on it. However, on the side facing out away from the car, some rubber was totally stripped off, showing the metal strands. It was on about 1/4 of the tire.

The service guy said it may be an issue with alignment OR a ball joint issue, or it might be nothing. If it was alignment, its not a biggie since thats a realtively cheap fix, but I know (from prior experiences) a ball joint is a bit pricey. Is there any way to tell right now if it is typically an alignment issue or a more serious ball joint issue? What are other tell tale signs of a ball joint problem?

The other tire on the drivers side seems OK.

By the way, dont buy a car with 17 inch tires...they are invariably more expensive than the 16 inch counterparts!!!!
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Old 05-15-2009, 04:21 PM
Location: Eastern Washington
15,878 posts, read 51,400,012 times
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If you have wear on only the inside or outside edge of just one front tire, as far as I know the only way this can happen is if camber (the angle that the top of the tire leans in or out, as viewed from the front of the car) is out, and the usual reason for this is the ball joint. If not the ball joint, then the lower A-arm bushings.

If you get the weight of the car off the tire, you can usually pry around and see if the ball joint is loose.

If the ball joint on your Maxima is like the ball joint on an 87 Camry, it's really not that hard to change. It's moderately advanced for a DIY guy, you would want to have some air tools, but you don't have to have any big bench-type tools.

As discussed in other threads, avoid the chain tire and alignment stores, find yourself a good independent tire and alignment shop, or, buy a shop manual, do it yourself.

I did a ball joint on our 92 Subaru, the part was only $30.

You need to pay more attention to the condition of your tires, not run them down into the metal cords...
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Old 05-15-2009, 10:20 PM
Location: Midwest
5,858 posts, read 8,547,684 times
Reputation: 11420
Oy! Down to the steel is down too low.

As M3 said, please pay attention before you pay a price.

Good tires, properly maintained, are the cheapest insurance you can get for your car and its passengers.
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Old 07-12-2014, 12:05 AM
Location: Scottsdale
2,887 posts, read 2,199,718 times
Reputation: 5491
To check a ball joint, jack the vehicle up from under the lower control arm so the weight on the suspension will "unload". This should free up the downward force of the spring, allowing the steering and suspension components to "wiggle" if worn/loose.

Just unload the suspension, grab the front wheel and jerk it around and check for loose play. There shouldn't be ANY.

If you grab the wheel at 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock and it's loose, it's worn steering. Tie rods ends, steering rack or pitman/idler arm.

If you wiggle it from 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock, it could one or both upper and lower ball joints, or a loose wheel bearing.

Easy, cheap, driveway mechanic diagnosis fer ya.
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