This upper balljoint came off a Dodge Dakota. The boot is torn which let water and debris get in the joint and caused it to fail.
The purpose of the balljoint is to allow the front wheels to pivot when you turn your steering wheel. If the joint gets loose from wear and tear, your vehicle can develop flat spots on the front tires, loose steering, improper wheel alignment and worst case scenario, catastrophic failure.
Once in a while you’ll see a vehicle on the side of the road with a front tire flopped over. That most likely is a broken balljoint. Usually a lot of clunking and squeaking was present before the joint broke.