Things you might feel is a looseness in turning the wheel back and forth or a clunking noise coming from the front suspension.
In order to check ball joints you need to have the vehicle in the air with the load off of the joints. Then you grab the top and bottom of the wheel and try to move it up and down. Excessive movement usually indicates worn ball joints.
If you feel that you are not getting accurate information from this shop, then you could take it somewhere else and get a second opinion.
〉 Answered on Oct 5th, 2007 by Lori Johnson, Owner and Instructor at Ladies Start Your Engines