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Discussion Starter #1
Got a co-worker with an '09 Wrangler Unlimited. She went to get the vehicle inspected and it failed for 4 worn ball joints.
It only has 60K on it and she is extremely upset. Is this out of the ordinary at this mileage?
She has an extended warranty, but the plan administrator refuses to cover it as they claim "normal wear and tear"
She uses this as a commuter primarily, no off-roading or accidents in its history.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Is this a Chrysler service contract?
Don't let the plan administrator tell her what isn't covered. She needs to see it in the contract for herself in writing. She should have a copy.
As for the b/j's being worn out, seeing is believing as well. Have the technician actually demonstrate the visible play in the joint(s) with the wheels off and the vehicle on a lift. If she doesn't know what she's looking at, have someone with her that does.
If they are being honest, they should have no problem doing this for a customer as it sells work for the shop.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No, it is a third party administered plan, the name of which escapes me at the moment.
She does have a copy of it, which I reviewed. The plan administrator quoted it verbatim to her. There is conflicting language in the contract indicating otherwise.
The shop that failed her for the inspection is one she trusts, and her husband observed the play in the ball joints as demonstrated by the mechanic.
It sounds pretty cut and dried to me that she is out of luck, the one exception is if the parts were proved to be defective. I am not sure how you would do that. That is the one thing that I think she is hoping for, that they are defective and thus will be covered.
 

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It's very unusual, but if it were off-roaded a lot, it could happen. They are sealed these days, and I prefer ones that can be greased. In my last car, they were still good at 308K miles.
 

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yeah i have found the jk suspension is not as durable as the older tj's.
done many upper and lower ball joints, and axel u-joints on the jks.
 

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Not bad. If it was an F-150 of the same vintage she'd be on her fourth set.
Just buy the best you can find and they may never need to be replaced again.
 

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Like an insurance policy claim, a service contract claim may be denied up front the first time. She can contest the decision and the worst that can happen is that it is denied again.
Conflicting language in the plan coverage is where the twist is and she needs the service advisor/service manager to go to bat for her and explain the situation to the plan administrator in a way that might sway them to cover this.
I have heard some real smooth talkers convince these contract guys to cover a repair that was previously denied. A skilled service advisor with the repair information in front of him or her can sometimes get this done over the phone. Submit the claim request again.
Wear and tear or defective workmanship or poor design or insufficient lubrication can all be used to describe the part's reason for failure. A failure mode has to be chosen that the service contract policy will accept and cover, if at all possible.
 

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Bob Lincoln said:
It's very unusual, but if it were off-roaded a lot, it could happen. They are sealed these days, and I prefer ones that can be greased. In my last car, they were still good at 308K miles.
Since the JK ones are sealed, is there a tendency for them to wear out faster than the grease-able ones?

It appears the aftermarket has created a grease-able replacement. http://www.quadratec.com/products/56100_3001.htm
 

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We just sold a 97 Camry with 176K miles, my wife did not 'baby' it, to put it mildly, and no front end suspension components had to be changed at all. Still steered and rode the same as new.
 

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KOG
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And none of our Caravans have had ball joints or tie rod ends changed. Two of them over 230K.
 

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PT Cruiser with over 255,000 miles. Ball joints changed when I changed the lower control arm (due to the bushings). It still has the original tie rods ends.
 

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Greasable joints may not last any longer than sealed joints in the service field, but are more 'aesthetically pleasing' to have. In fact, sealed, non-grease fitting joints may last longer. The automakers didn't go to sealed joints mainly to be cheap, it gave them more control over what kind of grease went into their joint.
I have seen greasable joints fail early when 2 different non-compatible greases are used to lube the joint and the interaction between the two liquifies or hardens the resulting mixture.
Like the elimination of transmission dipsticks, it isn't about being cheap it is about having control of what happens to their machine after it leaves the factory and enters the service world. Many mechanics and owners still think that grease is grease and if it's red it goes in the tranny. The automakers had to stop this kind of 'tampering', especially when huge warranty or liability dollars had to go to pay for a part failure resulting from wrong lube.
The use of wheel bearing grease as an assembly lube for engines, transmissions and rear axles is forbidden.

http://www.mindconnection.com/library/handyman/greasecompat.htm
 

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KOG
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Chrysler pioneered sealed joints in 1962. And they lasted a looooong time then.
 

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Interesting. I never saw sealed joints in any of the vehicles I've owned - 1966, 1972, 1985, 1992, 1984, 1992 and 1993. What models used them?
 

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Lessons gleaned from this post..... Get a 2nd opinion, the chances for 4 ball joints to be bad at 60000 miles from a woman driver are slim to none. Get a second opinion, these inspections in the states that have them are for shops to pad profits by bogusly failing cars just to get work. My state does not have inspections for mechanical, and we are none the worse for that from the standpoint of saftey. And those third party warranties are not worth the paper they are printed on, get a manufactures warranty if you feel the need for an extended warranty.
 

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Get a second opinion, these inspections in the states that have them are for shops to pad profits by bogusly failing cars just to get work. My state does not have inspections for mechanical, and we are none the worse for that from the standpoint of saftey.
Agree on the second opinion, but I don't agree with not having annual safety inspections. I live in Virginia and am glad there are annual safety inspections. I commute through Maryland which does not have annual safety inspections and I see far more vehicles with non-functioning brake lights, headlights on a daily basis. While proper operation of lights is not a major safety issue, one has to wonder if drivers/owners aren't forced to keep the lights in proper working order, do you think they'll do a good job with other safety issues such as brakes, ball joints, tie rod ends? Human nature being what it is, probably not.


If you think once a year is bad, Virginia use to require safety inspection every 6 months.
 

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Claims of parity in states with safety inspections vs those without, should be backed with a source or data. I'm with Doug - show me that it doesn't matter.
 

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Bob Lincoln said:
Claims of parity in states with safety inspections vs those without, should be backed with a source or data. I'm with Doug - show me that it doesn't matter.
I live in Florida where there are no inspections. I wish they had them, at least to some degree. I get so tired of being blinded by headlights that are so out of alignment, or in trucks that are lifted with no adjustments to lights. I also see some burned out lights, but not too bad; and rarely a vehicle that seems unsafe. But, there definitely is a difference between Florida (no inspection) and when I lived in NJ (inspections).

For me, I personally like having no inspections because I maintain my car. It is the other cars that make me wish for them.
 

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For me, I personally like having no inspections because I maintain my car. It is the other cars that make me wish for them.
Unfortunately there far too many owners that don't have the proper maintenance completed and will push the edge of the envelope when it comes to safety. Most times because they simply cannot afford the repair so they drive without getting it taken care of. These are the ones driving around with nearly bald tires, cracked windshields, muffler almost dragging on the pavement, etc.
 

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Doug D said:
These are the ones driving around with nearly bald tires, cracked windshields, muffler almost dragging on the pavement, etc.
Guilty on the cracked windshield! I got hit by a rock, and once Christmas is done,. I need to get that fixed. :rolleyes:
 
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