Freedom of choice is an awesome thing, especially with aftermarket parts. Imagine if you were cornered into having only one choice? A scary thought.
With ball joints, there’s one supposed aftermarket leader – Moog. Orbiting around are numerous not-as-popular brands, some of which are pretty decent.
Let’s dive in for a quick Moog vs Proforged vs Duralast vs TRQ ball joints comparison.
If I would rank them based on my observations, as well as what I see around car communities…
First, Moog is a leader with a reason. Their Problem Solver series such as this particular ball joint have the best coating, best sealing, and are the easiest to service.
Moog go for a stronger metal composition, unlike some off-brands that go for recycled pot metal. It’s obvious why an independent study found out their ball joints outlast other popular aftermarket brands.
As far as Proforged ball joints go…
These would be my #2 choice – you can check some prices & reviews. Great finish, and the e-coating on the joints takes care of sturdiness. The accordion-style boot is also well-manufactured, an often overlooked part.
I’d say they’re comparable to Moog, the only drawback being less variety in the vehicle-specific applications. Meaning, some models just don’t have a matching Proforged part.
What about the others? Are Duralast and TRQ parts good quality?
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Brands comparable to Moog:
Duralast vs Proforged vs TRQ ball joints
I find that Duralast can be a big hit or miss. And there’s a simple reason:
Duralast (a.k.a. Autozone) mostly sell repackaged ball joints as a distributor. Some of them might be actually Moog, but others are second-tier replacement parts.
The price represents that – they’re probably one of the cheapest ball joints out there. That’s a good thing, but at least personally I’d prefer to pay just a bit more for sturdier suspension parts.
There have been quite a few people in car communities with Duralast complaints. This guy here found out that the rubber wasn’t sealed at all. It was so bad that you could peel the rubber boots with ease.
Remember how I praised Proforged ball joints’ boots? Yeah.
Moog themselves also take care of the boot part too. Just make sure you go for their Problem Solver series. It’s usually marked by either CK or K like this high-rated ball joint.
What about TRQ?
TRQ is a bit of an enigma. I’ve seen good reviews on their parts, but they don’t really give a lot of information on their Amazon storefront.
I say Amazon storefront, because they don’t seem to keep a good catalogue on their own website.
What’s very specific for TRQ parts is that they usually package things in sets. What I mean is, most of the time you get the whole deal – control arms, ball joints and other suspension/steering components in one.
This ball joints + tie rods kit is an example of that:
Not sure if it’s about logistics or cutting costs, but that does make it a bit harder just to get a ball joint or two, like you would do with the other brands.
The good stuff about TRQ is that they have a limited lifetime warranty. Also, they seem to hold to the industry standards when it comes to manufacture – tough steel construction, greaseable and well-fitting ball joints.
Where are all those brands’ ball joints made?
Now that’s a tough question. Globalization has had a tremendous impact on supply chain and logistics. I’ve heard some criticism of Moog recently outsourcing a part of their manufacture…
I still think they do quite a bit of manufacturing in North America, though. That would apply to their Premium/Problem Solver series. As I noted in my comparison between them and ACDelco, their cheapest ball joints are a no-go either.
I think it’s safe to say that most ball joint brands’ lower priced lines are made in China. It’s not economically viable for them to not do so. If you want fully US-made ball joints, you’ll be looking at the price range of brands like Teraflex or Dynatrac…
Any other brands? TRW, Beck Arnley…?
Dime a dozen, frankly. I’ve seen some talk about TRW vs Moog ball joints, but have no impressions about that brand. Stealing a quick peek at their site, I see they have 100 years of history as a manufacturer. This seems reputable enough – if you have used TRW ball joints, let me know what you think in the comments.
The same can be applied to Beck Arnley versus Moog as a brand. I’ve heard some good things about them too – I see there are some decent reviews here on their joints.
Did they also go for the Duralast model and start repackaging? No idea…
Another competitor is Mevotech. As I noted when comparing them to Moog, however, their ball joints aren’t as good. If you’re looking for tie rods, though, they’re a decent choice. As for Spicer, they’re a better pick if your ride is a Jeep – I wrote why here.
I won’t even touch most of the chinese race to the bottom, no-name brands you can see on Amazon or eBay. Stay safe and pick something reputable for your suspension/steering needs. Your vehicle will be glad – and you would be too.