Kingpins are an often-neglected piece of your car’s steering system. The kingpin (not to be confused with the crime lord Kingpin from Marvel comics) helps control your wheels pivoting.
Like any car part, kingpins wear down over time and will need to be replaced. On average, you can expect to pay about $1,000 to replace a kingpin.
The typical price range is between $600 to $1,200, though certain models of cars may cost up to $1,500+ to replace.
Luxury brands and high-performance vehicles will be more expensive to fix. Your car may require two or four kingpins, which will further affect costs.
Additionally, many modern cars do not have a physical kingpin, though certain parts may still be referred to as a “kingpin.”
- What Does a Kingpin Do?
- How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Kingpin?
- Factors that Affect the Cost of Kingpin Replacement
- Signs of a Bad Kingpin
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Words
- Related Guides
What Does a Kingpin Do?
The kingpin is an important component of your car’s steering system that serves as the main pivot.
Kingpins exist on cars that have a front axle and allow the stub axles to pivot and rotate while steering the car.
Most modern consumer-brand cars do not have a physical kingpin, but they may have a “virtual” kingpin, which is an axis defined by the orientation and pivot points of the steering knuckle.
As such, physical kingpins are mostly found in older cars before the 1960s, and larger vehicles such as trailers, RVs, trucks, and other large automobiles.
There is a small handful of cars that still use physical kingpins, but these are the exception and not typical.
How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Kingpin?
Overall, you can expect to pay about $1,000 on average to replace a physical kingpin. The typical price range is between $600 to $1,200.
Your exact costs will differ depending on your car’s make/model and your mechanic’s location.
One important thing to note about kingpin replacement costs is that most modern cars do not have kingpins, but instead use ball joints.
As such, most cars that require kingpin replacement are old models that may also require other updates and repairs. Also, it may be hard to find compatible parts for old cars.
You can also buy the replacement parts and replace them on your own. Generally speaking, the actual kingpin parts are fairly cheap.
Labor takes up most of the cost of replacement as it takes a lot of work to disassemble the suspension and the wheel axle. So you can replace the part on your own to save money.
The average cost for kingpin replacement parts is, on average, $70. The typical price range is between $40 on the low end and $200 on the high end.
Here is a table showing the average cost of various kingpin replacement parts.
|Speedway Standard 1937-41 Ford Spindle Kit||$60|
|SpeedwayStandard 1949-54 Chevy Kingpin Kit||$50|
|Deluxe 1949-54 Chevy Kit||$150|
|Winters Titanium Ford Kingpin Kit||$75|
|1953-56 Ford Half-Ton Pickup Kingpin Set||$45|
|Speedway Deluxe 1937041 Ford Kingpin Kit||$200|
|DMI SRC-2059 Titanium Sprint Racing Kingpin||$115|
|Winters 6476-02T Titanium Hollow Kingpin Thread||$70|
|TP Econoline Standard Kingpin Set||$60|
|Ultralite Tubular King Pin||$25|
|Speedway 1942-48 Ford Spindle Kingpin||$45|
As you can see, the actual kingpin parts are relatively cheap. One thing to keep in mind is the number of kingpins you will need.
Most older cars that use a kingpin suspension system are two-wheel drive, meaning that only require two kingpins.
In contrast, 4-wheel drive cars with kingpin suspension require four pins. The latter kind of suspension system is mostly only found in modern trucks, trailers, and RVs.
Kingpin Repair vs Replacement
Depending on the extent of the damage, you may be able to repair a broken kingpin rather than replace it.
If the kingpin is only bent slightly, your mechanic should be able to weld and hammer it back into functional shape.
It is hard to give an exact figure for kingpin repair as the costs will vary heavily depending on the kind of metal the kingpin is made from and your mechanic’s hourly rates.
That being said, based on our research, you can expect to pay between $50 to $200 to repair a kingpin.
These costs are much lower than replacement costs, so repair can often be a more cost-effective decision over replacement.
Factors that Affect the Cost of Kingpin Replacement
Generally speaking, kingpins are made from some kind of steel alloy. In our opinion, the best quality steel to get is hardened AISI 4140 steel or Rc60 steel.
Other popular steel varieties include AISI 8630H and EN36b steel. 4140 steel is usually the most expensive material.
Type of kingpin
There are about six common types of kingpins: single-lock, double-loc, ford-type, tapered, threaded and stepped. Most kingpins are between 15/16” to 2 ⅛” in diameter and 6” to 11” long.
Typically, threaded and stepped kingpins are the most expensive because they have the most complex designs.
Age of your car
Most consumer-brand cars made after the mid-90s don’t use a physical kingpin, so only older cars will need a kingpin fix. If your car is a discontinued model, it may be hard to find compatible parts.
As always, your car’s make and model will determine costs. If you have a luxury or high-performance car, then you may have to pay more due to specialized parts and required labor.
Signs of a Bad Kingpin
The kingpin is one of the main components of your steering system that lets the wheels pivot when you turn. As such, one of the most obvious signs of a broken kingpin is rough handling.
If you notice difficulty steering and handling, then a broken kingpin may be the culprit.
Improper Vehicle Alignment
Another major symptom of a broken kingpin is improper vehicle alignment. The kingpin keeps the wheels stable when turning. So a broken kingpin can manifest as improper vehicle alignment.
If your car keels to the right or left, then a broken kingpin could be the cause.
Uneven Tire Wear
The kingpin helps your wheels turn, so when it is broken they may start buckling. When your tires turn inward, you may notice uneven wear and tear on tires.
If one tire is significantly more worn than the other, or you notice uneven wearing on the sides of your tires, then a broken kingpin could be the cause.
Shaking Steering Wheel
One last common sign of a broken kingpin is a shaking steering wheel. The kingpin connects to the steering struts, which directly connect to your steering rack and pinion and steering wheel.
The broken pin can cause vibrations in your wheel, especially when turning the wheel.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to replace a kingpin?
You can expect to pay approximately $1,000 to replace a kingpin. The typical range is between $600 to $1,200. These prices are averages and will differ depending on your specific car and your mechanic’s location.
Keep in mind that most cars with kingpin suspension require at least two pins, while some may require four.
How often should I replace my kingpin?
Kingpins are extremely durable and are meant to last the entire lifespan of your car. A typical steel kingpin can last up to 700,000 miles.
So for most cars, you will never have to replace the kingpin unless it is damaged in an accident or some kind of impact. Failure to maintain and lubricate kingpins may cause them to break down earlier.
Do all cars have a physical kingpin?
No, most modern cars do not use a physical kingpin suspension system and instead use a ball joint system. Ball joints and kingpins serve similar roles but are mechanically distinct components.
Can I repair a broken Kingpin?
Depending on the extent of damage, you may be able to repair a broken kingpin instead of replacing it entirely. Generally speaking, you can repair a kingpin if the wear does not exceed 0.080 inches.
Your mechanic can weld the kingpin to return it to its original, functional shape. Repairs can often be an ideal alternative to replacement and can be much less expensive.
However, after a certain level of damage, repairs will be unfeasible.
Can I drive on a bad kingpin?
Yes, you can drive on a bad kingpin, but we would not recommend it. A broken kingpin can negatively affect steering stability, so you may lose control of your car.
Driving on a broken kingpin can also damage your control bushings and wheel axle. So, if you have a broken kingpin, we would recommend getting it fixed as quickly as possible.
Can I replace a kingpin on my own?
It is possible to replace a kingpin on your own, but it is a difficult and labor-intensive process. You have to access the steering system and remove the kingpin caps.
Depending on the configuration of your car, you may also have to partially disassemble the wheel axle array. Unless you have extensive experience working on cars, we would recommend getting a professional to do the job.
Most people may not even know what a kingpin is, but they will notice when it is broken. If your kingpin is worn down, we recommend getting it fixed as quickly as possible.
A bad kingpin can affect your steering stability and cause you to lose control of your car. As always, make sure that you get quotes from several mechanics so you can get the best price possible.