BMWs are a joy to drive. They are known for their superior engineering, riding in comfort, and are some of the best-handling cars in the world. If you are fortunate enough to own one, you certainly are extra concerned when you hear the ball joints making unusual sounds or vibrating. Maintaining these beautiful cars can be challenging, but we have you covered. Here is a guide to show you how to deal with BMW 3 Series ball joint failure.

Signs of Failure

One of the first signs of failure in your BMW Series 3’s ball joints is that they will begin making strange noises. The noise emanates from your suspension and may sound like loose parts clunking together. You will also notice heavy shaking or vibrating while driving, which will match the noise you hear. Most customers say these symptoms leave them feeling disconcerted, so you will not likely miss them when your BMW faces ball joint issues.

You will typically find these issues isolated to one side of your car. Both ball joints do not fail at once with normal wear and tear. If you notice that the vibration and sound come from both sides or are spread evenly across the vehicle, you may have a more significant problem than just failing ball joints, and you should get your BMW inspected immediately. Driving on damaged ball joints or more damaged parts will significantly increase your repair costs and put your safety at risk while driving.


There are no good ways to repair existing ball joints, so you must replace them when they begin to fail. The price of most new ball joints ranges between $20 and $150, which is not bad. The replacement process takes between one and three hours, depending on how difficult it is to get to them and the skill level of your technician. You can expect to pay labor costs between $80 and $200 per hour. If your auto shop offers a deal to replace both ball joints, take them up on that offer. Even if you pay full price for both parts, you will save some significant money on labor costs and keep you from returning soon to replace the other ball joint.

The other reason to replace both ball joints at once is to give you a smoother ride and avoid damaging your tires. When these ball joints fail, your wheels risk suffering damage, which can mess with your alignment, even if only one side is causing the problem. Most professionals recommend replacing both ball joints simultaneously rather than at separate intervals. You will save money, and it is better for your car.

Other Recommendations

BMW ball joints can last up to 70,000 miles and sometimes even longer. However, the dirt and grime that get into them will cause them BMW 3 Series Ball Joint Replacementto break down much faster. Having your car cleaned and inspected regularly, especially after driving on rougher roads, will prolong its life. Additionally, checking the stud hole in the steering knuckle when you replace your ball joints is wise. This knuckle may also need to be worked on, especially if the ball joint stud broke or was loose.

When looking for a shop to work on your BMW Series 3, find one with BMW-certified technicians. Shops specializing in European autos can usually get your repairs done faster and have the parts you need on hand, so you don’t waste time and money on a service not prepared to meet your specific needs. Most BMW-certified auto repair shops display membership in automotive professional affiliations such as ASE (Automotive Service Excellence), ASA (Automotive Service Association), and iATN. These professional affiliations hold their members to high ethical standards, and they have rigorous technician certification requirements.

If your BMW Series 3 is making unusual sounds or giving you a clunky feeling while driving it, be sure to get it serviced immediately. Contact us at Auto Scandia, serving Sterling, Reston, Great Falls, Chantilly, Oakton, and Herndon, VA. We are a BMW-certified shop, and our auto technicians are certified to repair your BMW and replace your ball joints in no time. We are here to care for your beautiful car and get you back safely driving your dream.

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