How to Use a Ball Joint Separator Tool – A Definitive Guide for Beginners In 2021

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If you love to tweak your vehicle a lot, you already know the importance of having the right tools for it. And ball joint tools are probably the most important tools when it comes to this. 

It helps to reduce all the hard effort that you need to do if not using the right tool for such a hard task. But it’s not the easiest job in the world to use ball joint separator tools. 

There are a lot of different types of tools available out there, and you must know how to use a ball joint separator tool to get the full benefit out of the tool. Let’s check out everything you need to know about using a ball joint separator tool down below.

How to Use a Ball Joint Separator Tool

What is a Ball Joint Separator Tool?

Of course, it’s easy to tell by the name what a ball joint separator tool is. It’s basically used to separate the front wheels of a car, and it does that in a way that takes the load off mostly. Also, these are super sturdy as well, and that allows them to withstand this much pressure.

Most of the ball joint separator tools you see out there are made of premium quality steel. That way, you get to have the best strength and support with the tool without worry about it breaking in the process, which is not an ideal scenario. Overall, you can say that this tool is a blessing for the people who have to repair cars or do tweaks with it.

Different Types of Ball Joint Tools

Now, if you look out there on the market, you’ll see a lot of different types of ball joint tools. Having a basic idea of these is crucial and will help you immensely in learning how to use a ball joint separator tool properly. So, without any further ado, let’s talk about a few of the most common types of ball joint tools you can find out there.


It might come as a surprise to some people that a hammer made it first to the list but isn’t a ball joint separator tool. Well, actually, it is in a way as giving a few slams can do the trick as well as most other ball joint separator tools.

However, you should never think that it can provide you with accuracy anywhere near the specific tools. But if you are dealing with a simple scenario, then a hammer should be more than enough to do everything for you.

Yet, if you are not careful with it, you can damage the parts, and that’s not the best way to go. So, it’s recommended that you apply minimal force so that you don’t accidentally damage anything, which is super crucial. It’s a very effective tool in that case, and you should definitely go for a hammer before you try anything else. It’s commonly available as well, and that’s a big plus point about this tool.

Pickle Fork

This one is probably the most commonly used tool out there for separating ball joints. It has a signature design, which is the two-prong wedge, and that helps to make it a very effective ball joint separator tool.

However, the main issue with using the pickle fork-type ball joint separator is that it destroys the part, making it impossible to use again. So, you should really consider the thing if you want to use it to do your job as it’ll cost you more money overall. 

So, if you are concerned about money, you should try a more subtle way as using the hammer in a controlled way. But if you don’t care that much about the part anymore, you can rip them off with the pickle fork without any issue. It’s quick and easy but has the massive drawback of destroying the part permanently.

Simple Claw Type Press

This is undoubtedly another common tool, which is basically a press. It comes with a cast or forged two-prong claw, which makes it very effective at taking out the ball joints. However, the simple claw-type press is actually most used on the tie rod joints, but it’s definitely great for ball joints as well.

To get better results, you can use it with the hammer method as well, which will give it a massive boost on the whole thing, and undoubtedly make it work faster and better. Overall, it’s definitely a great tool to use for separating the ball joints, and it makes the whole task much easier as well.

Now, you can definitely go for this option, and it’s much cheaper than the ball joint press as well. But with this tool, you can’t expect a perfect finish either. It can ruin the parts as well, and you might not be able to use them afterward. So, being aware of that, now you should make you decide whether that’s something you want or not.

Ball Joint Press

The last ball joint separator tool we are going to review is the ball joint press tool. Most of the professionals use this wonderful tool, and that’s not without any reason. It provides a clean and safe removal, which takes care of the part while keeping everything in intact order.

If you are someone who does the job professionally, you might want to consider a ball joint press tool for your work. That’s because it’s the single most effective tool for expert usage. 

However, you should take note that the tool is super expensive, and that’s not for everybody. So, if you are not a professional, you really don’t need to be spending that much money on this tool. Rather, go for a tool that’s mentioned earlier, and it’ll work just fine.

Also, remember that the tool can’t do anything perfectly unless you are skilled enough to do so. You must know how to use a ball joint separator tool before you can expect good results from this wonderful tool. So, make sure to consider everything that we discussed before choosing to spend a few more hundred bucks for this expensive tool.

Thoughts: These were some of the most common types of ball joint separators available out there. As you saw, the hammer might be one of the most common tools you can find out there, but it’s one of the most beneficial as well. You definitely won’t get to keep your parts after masing it with a hammer. So, that can be a massive drawback to some people, but otherwise, it’s something that gets your job done quite well.

With the claw-type press, you have a bit more flexibility and it’s a much more veritable tool as well. So, you can consider that as well, or the final one, which is the ball joint press. If you are someone who doesn’t want to compromise quality to save up a few bucks, then this might be your best bet.

 Now that you have a better idea about each and a single one, it’ll be much easier for you to pick the perfect one for your job. So, make sure to use the guide when you actually need it, and it’ll help you so much in the process.

The Procedure of Using a Ball Joint Separator Tool

As we just went through all the different types of ball joint separators available out there, it’s time to learn how to use them. Well, you probably guessed that all of these require different methods to operate. 

For instance, when you are dealing with a hammer, all you’ve got to do is hit it in place with the right amount of force. If you get it right, the ball joint will come off right away, and it won’t be an issue for you. That is really a fast and easy way to deal with it.

However, if you are using any other tools, it might be a whole different scenario for you. Now, it’s best to read the user’s manual right before you go on to use some of the tools. But what’s recommended is that you ask for an expert’s help.

Someone with experience, who has already done it a lot of times can tell you the exact thing you need to know. So, this would be the best way to teach yourself how to use such tools in the best possible way.

But if you don’t have access to anyone like that, you can always learn it online. But you should be very careful about the resources you pick to learn. They can have a massive impact on the whole learning process, and you must put the right information inside you. 

That’s the only way to learn how to use the tools properly, and it’d be best if you do your own extensive research on it. Still, the best way to go would be to learn it practically as wrong information can lead to destroying your vehicle’s parts. Even if it can cause accidents, which you really don’t want to happen.

Precaution & Safety

As you just saw, it’s not something that doesn’t come with any risk, and it has quite a bit of risk. First of all, when you are dealing with such heavyweight work, you should never forget to wear protective gear. That’ll help to save you from many injuries. 

Not only that, even if you use a hammer, it’ll take a moment for a fatal injury to take place. And the injury can be very serious, and you should not underestimate it by any means. No matter how skilled you are at your job, you must be careful and present every moment you are dealing with that.

So, how do you deal with that without compromising the speed and effectiveness of the method? First of all, if you follow the method properly, you should have no problem keeping yourself safe while dealing with it.

Read More: How to Thin Oil Based Paint for Spray Gun

However, you should follow the tips shown down below to help keep yourself safe while using a ball joint separator tool.

  • Consider getting yourself a pair of premium safety gloves. These are mostly known as mechanics gloves, and they do a wonderful job at keeping your hands safe during such intense work. Whatever you do, never skip wearing safety gloves as it can cause serious injury and you might not be able to work for a while after that. 
  • Another most important priority of yours should be to wear safety glasses whenever you use ball joint separator tools. Remember, eyes are the most sensitive organs of your body, and you need to be super careful about them. 
  • If you are using some kind of tie rod ball joint splitter or fork-type separator, then you must stay extra careful while using them. You might know how to use a ball joint separator tool pretty well, but you don’t want to risk anything.
  • Sometimes no matter how hard you hit the ball joints, it won’t come off, which can be a bit of an issue. The main reason for that occurrence is the overgrown rust. In that case, you don’t want to exhort yourself by applying more and more force. Rather, apply mobile to make the joint loose, and that way, you can get it off easily.
  • Finally, you never want to use an air impact gun when you are using a ball joint separator tool as it can mess things up for you even more.


You just went through how to use a ball joint separator tool without all the risk of wasting too much energy or getting injured as well. However, you need to remember that safety is not an optional thing when you are dealing with such tools

Also, using the proper technique to finish the job is as important as anything else. And hopefully, this article will help you get the best results with the ball joint separator tool and make your life easier.

Avatar for Jack R. Stephen

I am Jack R. Stephen from Dallas, TX, USA and Co-Founder of Handy Tool Tips. I am a tool expert with years of practical experience. Besides my professional work, I love writing to help others with knowing handy tools thoroughly. For recreational & enjoyment purposes, I love going to hike with my best friend, Cameron. He was mentioned in several News Portals for his outstanding skills and professionalism for making great stuff with his tools. If you would like to chat with me please feel free to reach out via facebook or twitter or email.

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