Hidden dangers in the boot?

fai-bootWhen a rubber boot on an item such as a ball joint is damaged the temptation is to just replace it. However, FAI warn that this policy can be dangerous and lead to more costly future component failure.

The problem is that once a boot has split, water, salt and road grit will immediately start to corrode the inner surface of the ball joint. Fitting just a new boot will simply seal and hide this damage. The corroded ball joint is likely to start to break-up and develop excess play. This can cause dangerous vehicle handling and excess tyre wear. Eventually the joint will fail completely and this can lead to loss of control of the vehicle and the danger of a serious accident.

FAI say that replacing boots only on safety critical parts like ball joints and track rod ends gives customers a false sense of security and can be dangerous. It recommends that once a boot has split the only safe and sensible option is to replace the damaged joint completely.