So I got some steering issues with my E150 Ford van from 1998 with a 5.4 v8 in it. It kinda groans and creaks like a giant wooden ship from the 1600s when ya turn it.

Somebody on here was tellin me I outta get it checked out asap on account of it bein dangerous.

But I was just wondering: if yer ball joints were to snap off or whatever... if that would really be all that dangerous... cuz I figure... the wheel would just kinda dangle like a shopping cart cuz it's still attached by a million arms and struts and whatever... but as long as at least one of the front wheels is still attached to the ball joint, then you should still be able to steer the vehicle to safety in such an emergency situation... am I wrong?

What I'm really scared of is if I'm drivin and I see one of the front wheels just rollin on into the horizon! Then you gotta think about which way you turn the vehicle for sure.

  • 1
    As per all your other questions you need to service and check this vehicle.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jul 17, 2020 at 7:09
  • 2
    And as per all your other questions it would help if you wrote it in English rather than whatever textual diarrhea this is. It's not funny, it's not clever, it's just tedious. Commented Jul 17, 2020 at 13:09
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    This is what a car with a failed ball joint looks like: i0.wp.com/imageshack.com/a/img923/1369/BlgVDw.png. "How to steer" is not the problem you need to worry about.
    – alephzero
    Commented Jul 17, 2020 at 13:13
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    "It's not funny, it's not clever, it's just tedious" +++++1 Commented Jul 17, 2020 at 17:54
  • Hey I just wanted to say that I appreciate y'all.
    – Bubba
    Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 0:08

2 Answers 2


Ball joints are the most critical component of your front suspension, they are the wheel's pivot point and where most of the forces are transferred from the wheel to the body of the car. There are other suspension components which connect to the wheel, however these are not sufficient to keep the wheel aligned or even attached, especially if a ball joint fails at speed.

So, if a ball joint fails you will probably not be able to steer, and will be too busy flipping over to see your wheel rolling over the horizon.


In your previous question I warned about ball joints failing and that you should have them checked. I was not suggesting that your wheel will necessarily roll away from your car.

Your vehicle appears to have a steering box with a track rod connecting the steering box to one front wheel, then a drag link connecting the steering of one wheel to the other. All of these rods and links are connected by ball joints.

If either of the ball joints break on the track rod, then you will loose all steering. The steering box will be disconnected from both front wheels. You will also have a steering rod dangling from one end which could jam against the road and force the steering in any direction.

If the drag link disconnects, then you will loose steering to one wheel and again you will have a loose drag link that could push the wheel in any direction.

You don’t want this happening when turning the vehicle, especially at speed. It is more likely to fail during low speed turning however, due to increased turning forces.

I have seen this happen, fortunately at very low speed. The drag link ball joint failed and the drag link was left seriously bent , presumably after jamming against something. You may imagine that one wheel would allow steering, but with the other wheel doing what it wanted, steering was not possible.

Additionally, if a top or bottom hub ball joint was to fail and separate, while the whole hub assembly is unlikely to roll away with the wheel, the wheel will drop at an odd angle and will likely jam against the suspension, bringing that side of the car to a sudden stop in an uncontrolled manner.

I would seriously get these ball joints checked soon.

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