Ball joints 96 ford ranger

I have a 96 ford ranger, 4.0, 4x4. I was told by a break shop that my ball joints are shot. I got a quote over the phone from a shop I trust and I was quoted $800 for all four. I was wondering, how do you
know if the ball joints are shot? The only problem with the vehicle is a small vibration while breaking (I'm guessing break pads or rotor problems). Would there be a noise, something I can see, or any other performance problems I'd be having if they were truly bad?
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Dawg opined in

Did the BRAKE shop also do ball joints? Not unusual to solicit income with "bad ball joints"
Did you take it to the shop you trust to see if they agreed?
And, depending on mileage, and how long you plan to keep it..you REALLY dont have to replace all four at once.
* * * * * * * * * * Anyone else notice more and more folks spell it "breaks".. or is it just me?
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