Common signs that may indicate failing ball joints on Dodge vehicles can include a knocking noise coming from the front-end of the vehicle, bottoming out and uneven tire wear. Ball joints are an essential part of the suspension system and serve to support the weight of the vehicle as well as attaching suspension components such as tie rods and shocks to the tires. Joints may fail due to long-term wear or driving on uneven surfaces or poor quality roads.
A typical early-warning sign of a failing ball joint is a sound similar to the sound of a hammer striking a metal plate. The noise may be intermittent, increase over time, or occur during sharp turns or driving over uneven ground. Other sounds may include a scraping noise or creaking sound that occurs when the bottom of the vehicle's frame makes contact with the ground. This scraping sound may emanate from either side of the vehicle.
Test ball joints by raising the vehicle and shaking the tire while listening for clicking or clunking sounds that may indicate a bad joint. A physical inspection of the joint can also be helpful in assessing its condition. Replace joints if the grease fitting appears dry, hard or stiff, or is easy to move and manipulate.