Easiest way to tell is jack the car up and grab the tire and try and wiggle. If there is play you definitely need a ball joint. Other signs are mystery pops/clunks (although that could be a multitude of things). An inspection of the boot can help give you an idea if you need them as well.What are the symptoms for bad lower ball joint? I might have one corner replaced soon, and if I do I will ask my mechanic how he installs it.
To update, the 7249 kit does work the the AutoZone clamp. I did it last year with Moog ball joints that are apparently trash, so now I'm about to do it again.Any updates to this? I desperately need to do my front lower ball joints, driver side is popping like crazy. I purchased both ball joints and tried to replace them with the AutoZone kit and was unsuccessful.
I considered letting a shop do it for me (I do 99% of my own work), but the cheapest quote I've gotten from a respectable shop is $310 for just the labor. I'm currently trying to find the "right" tool so I can get this done without spending several hundred $s on labor or tools I'll only use once. If you had success using the OTC kit in conjunction with the AutoZone clamp I will do the same.
Edit: looking at pictures of the 7249 kit I believe the AutoZone kit used the same exact style of adapter and clamp. I'm gonna go for it.