Raise and safely support the vehicle until the front wheel is clear of the floor. Try to rock the wheel up and down. If any play is felt, have an assistant rock the wheel while observing the lower ball joint. If any movement is seen between the steering knuckle and control arm, the ball joint is bad; if no movement is detected, the wheel play indicates wheel bearing wear.
REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
The lower ball joint is an integral part of the lower control arm. If the ball joint needs replacement, the entire lower arm must be replaced as an assembly.