Best Ball Joint Presser & Removal Tools

If you’ve been noticing abnormal tire wear, a clunking when going over bumps, or that your steering wheel is unable to stay centered, chances are your car’s ball joints need replacement.

These typically need to be replaced between 70,000 and 150,000 miles of driving. Failure to do so will not only cause other suspension components to fail, but it will also make your car unsafe to drive.

You can always get your ball joints replaced by a professional, but that will cost you approximately $400 for each joint including labor.

This of course depends on the car you drive. Alternatively, you can buy a good quality ball joint press tool and do it yourself.

Renting the tool from your local auto parts store is also an option, but if you have more than one car and if you’re mechanically inclined, it makes a lot of sense to have this tool in your kit.

In this article, we’ve listed some of the best ball joint presser and separator tools available at the time of writing.

Types of Ball Joint Removal Tools

Specialized tools like ball joint presses, wheel stud pullers, coil spring compressors, and clutch alignment tools are worth their weight in gold if you know how to use them. Hours of work can be done in minutes with the right equipment.

The method and the tool required to access the ball joints on your car or truck will depend on factors such as:

  • Drivetrain layout (AWD, 4WD, RWD, FWD),
  • Suspension type,
  • Whether it’s a car, truck, or van;
  • How badly your ball joints are fused to the control arms, and
  • Whether you want to reuse the ball joints or not.

To reiterate, which tool you should choose and how you should use it comes down to your personal setup. Most ball joint presses are only as good as the techniques you come up with to make them work for your specific needs.

Let’s take a look at some of the different tools that you can use to uninstall your ball joints.

Clamp-Style Separator

Seperating ball joint from spindle shaft

Mechanics and enthusiasts swear by this tool because of how effective it is and how easy it makes the job of separating a ball joint shaft from a spindle support arm.

Clamp-style separators can’t be used to remove press-in ball joints from the control arm and axle assemblies.

Another thing you can’t do with this tool is install a new ball joint — for that, you’ll need a c-clamp ball joint press tool.

Using a ball joint seperator tool

It’s worth noting that these tools are known to go flying off when the ball joint breaks loose.

This typically happens when the joint is rusted and fused together. It’s recommended to attach a strong cable to it or find a way to secure it.

Don’t forget to use safety gear such as gloves, goggles, and automotive work boots when performing anything remotely risky on your car.

Clamshell Press Tool

Clamshell press tool in use

The tried and tested press tool is perfect for a majority of cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs that have press-in ball joints.

You can use this tool to remove press-in ball joints from your control arms and you can also use it to install a new ball joint in their place. Reusing the old joints is also an option.

Seized ball joint

These tools typically come with several different adapters making them compatible with a range of different cars. If you don’t want multiple adapters, then you can opt for car-specific kits at a lower price.

Claw-Type Press Tool

Claw-type ball joint press tool

Other than being a ball joint remover, this tool doubles up as a tie rod end puller and a pitman arm puller.

It’s a single-piece press that has a forged dual-prong claw and a threaded stud in the center. These tools are ideal if the ball joint hasn’t seized up too badly.

But if it has seized up and you’re experiencing unwanted changes in your suspension geometry, then the c-clamp press tool is your best option.

Hammer

Steering knuckle with marked spot for hammering the ball joint out
The red dot marks the spot where you need to hit the knuckle with a hammer.

The good old hammer does a great job separating a relatively new ball joint from the spindle arm, although it’s not our first choice.

All you have to do is grab a 3-pound hammer and smack the casting (side of the steering knuckle where the stud goes through), and the ball joint should pop right out.

steering knuckle and brake assembly

If it doesn’t work the first time, try using more force. The older the ball joint is, the more effort it’s going to take to knock it out.

Make sure to not hit the tie rod itself, and steer clear of this method if you have aluminum knuckles.

Pickle Fork

Silver pickle fork

The pickle fork or tuning fork as some people like to call it is a dual-prong wedge that can be used for a variety of different tasks.

You can use it as a ball joint separator, but doing so will destroy the dust boot on the joint, rendering it useless.

The Best Ball Joint Removal Tools

Now that you know the basics of what tools to select for the job, let’s get into the review list you’re here for.

Below we’ve listed some of the best ball joint separators and press tools. Note that the list excludes hammers and pickle forks.

OTC Ball Joint Master Service Kit

Manufacturer: OTC Tools
Part number: ‎6559
Construction: Drop-forged steel
Type: Clamshell press
Buy on: Amazon

The OTC Ball Joint Master Service Kit is designed for professional mechanics and serious DIY enthusiasts.

It comes with a whopping 71 adapters intended to cover most press-in ball joint replacement needs for a vast majority of cars, vans, and SUVs.

With the toolset, you get two carrying cases for all the gear and detailed instruction guides for vehicles up to the model year 2008.

This is great for those who frequently service different vehicles and need to quickly know how to get the job done.

Astro Pneumatic 21 Piece Ball Joint Service Tool

Manufacturer: Astro Pneumatic Tool
Part number: 7897
Construction: Forged alloy
Type: Clamshell press
Buy on: Amazon

Astro Pneumatic offers a specialized 21-piece kit that’s compatible primarily with American-made SUVs, trucks, and vans up to the model year 1997.

With that, this kit is obviously recommended for anyone who works on a lot of, or who happens to own, an older GM, Ford, and/or Dodge truck, SUV, or van.

The kit comes with several adapter attachments as well as a carrying case. It is best suited to those working with older domestic non-car applications.

Powerbuilt 23 Piece Ball Joint and U Joint Service Set

Manufacturer: AllTrade Tools LLC
Part number: 648617
Type: Clamshell press
Buy on: Amazon

Powerbuilt’s 23-piece service kit is intended for RWD applications. You get a variety of adapters along with it and it includes tools for removing U joints.

The product is made to meet or exceed ANSI standards. ANSI is the American National Standards Institute and works to ensure precision and quality. So you can be assured the Powerbuilt ball joint kit is going to be high quality and effective.

Orion 21 Piece Master Ball Joint Press

Manufacturer: Orion Motor Tech
Part number: ‎BJS 002100 GWCA
Construction: Forged solid carbon steel
Type: Clamshell press
Buy on: Amazon

The Orion Motor Tech 21-piece ball joint press is designed to be compatible with most vehicles, regardless of drivetrain.

It includes supplementary tools that will make it easier to cover a wider range of applications.

If you foresee servicing many different vehicles; either for professional work or if you plan on owning a variety of vehicles, this is a good option.

It is constructed of forged solid carbon steel, as well, making it a very rugged and formidable tool for the task.

OTC Intermediate Service Kit

Manufacturer: OTC Tools
Construction: Drop-forged steel
Part number: 6530
Type: Clamshell press
Buy on: Amazon

Unlike OTC’s master service kit, this one comes with 20 adapters and is intended for trucks, SUVs, and vans.

If you intend to use this kit for a car, double-check your vehicle’s specifications before purchasing to assess whether it will work for your car in particular.

It is compatible with several GM and Ford light-duty trucks and vans through 2003, Dodge light trucks through 1998, Dodge vans namely Durango and Dakota through 2003, and early 00s Hondas such as the Accord, Civic, Del Sol, and Prelude through 2001.

Orion Heavy Duty Ball Joint Press

Manufacturer: Orion Motor Tech
Part number: ‎OMTCA BJS-0401-00
Construction: Steel
Type: Clamshell press
Buy on: Amazon

Orion Motor Tech offers a 10-piece steel ball joint removal kit. It is intended to work on most vehicles whether they are FWD, RWD, 4WD, or AWD.

This makes it a very versatile kit, especially for those who plan on working on multiple vehicles with different drivetrains.

With this kit you get a carrying case, the adapter itself, three receiving tools for the adaptor, as well as a forcing screw press you can use to remove U joints.

Orion 5-in-1 Ball Joint Separator

Manufacturer: Orion Motor Tech
Part number: 8542039067
Construction: Hardened alloy
Type: Clamp-style separator + claw-type press tool
Buy on: Amazon

This Orion Motor Tech kit is actually more than just a ball joint removal tool. It can also remove tie rod ends and can be used as a Pitman arm puller.

The kit is intended for RWD vehicles and has five total pieces, one for each function:

  • Ball joint separator,
  • tie rod and ball joint remover,
  • conical pitman arm puller,
  • pitman and tie rod end puller; and
  • pitman arm puller.

Note that this kit is a clamp-style separator, which means it is meant for separating a ball joint shaft from a spindle support arm.

OEMTools 21 Piece Master Ball Joint Press Kit

Manufacturer: OEMTools
Part number: ‎25104
Construction: Forged steel alloy
Type: Clamshell-press
Buy on: Amazon

The 21 Piece Master Ball Joint Press Kit by OEMTools is designed to work on most vehicles, especially GM, Ford, and Chrysler light trucks, vans, and SUVs.

In other words, this is still a good kit even if you do not plan on servicing a GM, Ford, or Chrysler, but is a great choice for those planning to work on those vehicles in particular.

The kit is made from a forged steel alloy, meant to withstand repeated tough jobs. In fact, the steel construction of the C-frame is ideal for working on removing seized joints.

OEMTools Ball Joint and U Joint Press Set

OEMTools Ball Joint and U Joint Press Set

Manufacturer: OEMTools
Part number: 37089
Construction: Forged steel
Type: Clamshell-press
Buy on: Amazon

Our second OEMTools kit includes U joint removal tools and is also applicable for most vehicles regardless of drivetrain. This is a 9-piece kit made of forged steel.

While this kit is designed to work on most vehicles, it is also equipped to handle the removal and installation of ball joints on ½ and ¾-ton 4WD vehicles that have the Dana 44 series front axle, which is often found on vehicles from the model year 1967 and onward.

Gearwrench Ball Joint Separator

Manufacturer: Gearwrench
Part number: 3916D
Construction: Steel
Type: Clamp-style separator
Buy on: Amazon

Gearwrench offers a standalone tool in the form of a ball joint separator. It is constructed from steel and intended to be used on FWD cars or light trucks. It is not intended for heavy-duty trucks and other larger vehicles.

The separator itself is adjustable to work on different-sized ball joints. If you have an FWD vehicle, be sure the tool opens wide enough to accommodate your ball joints. This one will work on ball joints up to 56 mm, or 2.125”.

Our Top Picks

There are plenty of ball joint presser and separator tools and kits to choose from, and the best thing you can do is buy both types to expand your mechanics tool set

With that out of the way, here are our top picks for the best ball joint presser and removal tools.

Best ball joint press for professional use: OTC Master Service Kit

If you service a lot of different vehicles and want a high-quality one-stop setup, we recommend going with the OTC Ball Joint Master Service Kit. It has 71 pieces to help you remove and install nearly any ball joint you come into contact with.

This is definitely overkill if you have one car and need to do a single ball joint job right now, but if you work on cars for a living or side job, or just love working on cars and plan to work on many more, this is a great choice.

Ball joint press seperator kit for multipurpose use: Orion 5-in-1 Ball Joint Seperator

For those looking for a kit that will work for most vehicles without having to invest a whole lot, go with the Orion Heavy Duty Ball Joint Press & U Joint Removal Tool Kit.

It is a great entry-level kit for getting the job done and even includes U joint removal tools, too.

You get 10 total pieces to work with that are made of steel. They are heavy-duty, durable, and will serve you well with the occasional ball joint job.

The best ball joint removal kit for RWD sports cars: Powerbuilt 23 Piece Ball Joint

With the Powerbuilt 23 Piece Ball Joint and U Joint Service Set, you get several adapters as well as U joint tools. The kit is intended for most RWD vehicles, so it will work on most sports cars equipped with RWD.

Not to mention, it is made with quality craftsmanship, so you will be getting a premium product intended to work well and last a long time even with frequent use.

Have you ever tried to uninstall ball joints without specialized tools? What was your experience like? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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