Learn how to change lower ball joints on most Kia vehicles. These instructions and pictures are for 2011-2016 Kia Optima, but owners of Kia Cadenza, K900, Soul, Niro, Sportage, Sorento, Sedona, Forte, and Rio will also find these instructions helpful.

What you will need

  • Kia Lower Ball Joint
  • Jack Stand
  • Floor Jack
  • Ratchet
  • Breaker Bar
  • 10-21mm Metric Socket Set


  1. Raise vehicle – Park the vehicle and place it in (P) park. Set the parking brakes. Jack up your vehicle and place jack stands under the car. Next, remove the front wheel.

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  2. Remove ball joint bolts.  Remove the bolts that hold the lower ball joint in place.

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  3. Remove nut and bolt – Remove the bolt by the knuckle. This allows lowering the ball joint.

    how to change ball joint kia optima diy replacement guide

  4. Replace ball joint – Remove the old ball joint. You may need to use a ball joint fork to separate your old ball joint from the knuckle.

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  5. Install new ball joint in reverse order and tighten the bolts according to specifications.

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  6. After ball joints are replaced, alignment is recommended to ensure good tire wear.

You may consider replacing the lower control arm together with the ball joint. This is an alternative if you have a pressed ball joint type and don’t want to deal with pressing the ball joint in and out of the control arm.

Check out more Kia repair guides and the article on how to read codes and troubleshoot vehicle problems yourself.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Would this apply to the 2009 Amanti as well

  2. Anonymous says:

    My 2011 kia sorento does not have the three bolts you are talking about to hold the ball joint in place. I replaced the lower ball joint but now I can’t get the bolt back into the knuckle. Hlep me.