Deciding Between Repairing and Replacing Ball Screws

A ball screw is an important investment when operating linear control systems. As a manufacturer, you count on the ball screw to do its part in the machinery and equipment. Protect that investment with regular maintenance and understand what’s fixable and what isn’t when deciding between repairing and replacing ball screws.

Signs a Ball Screw Is Failing

Watch for the following signs a ball screw may need repairing or replacing:

Distressed Surface

Look for signs of corrosion or pitting on the surface of the ball screw. This can happen from deterioration over time, chemical agents, or poor lubrication. A distressed surface may cause no immediate issues, but if ignored too long, it turns into a problem.

Unusual Sounds

When you start hearing clicking noises or vibrations that weren’t there before, it’s time to have the ball screw checked out for problems.


Discoloration of the ball screw or skid marks seen from lubrication is unusual and a sign a ball screw has an issue. There could be damage within the lines or not enough lubrication.

Rough Operation

Listen for abnormal clicking or a growling sound as the ball screw operates. There could be a seal or wiper problem.

Depending on how far these issues have gone, the ball screw may need replacing or repair. Ignoring necessary repairs leads to the ball screw breaking down and machinery coming to a halt.

Why Maintenance Is Important

Cleaning and lubrication are essential for ball screws. Ball screws are designed to create little friction, and lubrication assists with that task. When it’s missing, a breakdown of the ball screw begins. Always use the lubrication recommended by the ball screw manufacturer. It’s usually around 600-800 hours that a ball screw needs cleaning and lubrication.

During a maintenance check, grease and oils are cleaned from the ball screw, and additional lubrication is added when needed.

Maintenance checks are the time to look for the things mentioned, such as discoloration, damaged lines, and other corrosion or deterioration. Maintenance not only keeps the ball screw running efficiently but it helps protect the ball screw from further damages.

Repair or Replace?

Always choose the repair option when possible. Ball screws are well made with high-quality materials, making them expensive to replace. Thankfully, this also makes them difficult to break when maintained properly.

Most ball screws last for many years. Depending on the number of revolutions or hours used, eventually, replacement is necessary when repairs no longer fix the problems, or the ball screw has worked hard for the expected lifespan.

When deciding between repairing and replacing ball screws, use our guide to help in making the decision. Continue with regular maintenance to gain the most use of a ball screw.

At Wedin International, we are proud to be the leading provider for American-made components of all linear control systems. We specialize in lead screw repair as well as ball screw repair. Contact us, and let’s discuss how Wedin can keep your linear control systems running smoothly.