What are the symptoms of worn control arm bushings?
Unless you've been in an accident, it's very rare that your entire control arm assembly would need to be replaced. It is a very durable part of your vehicle's suspension, but contains some components that don't last forever. Over time, the ball joint and/or the control arm bushings may need to be replaced. This will present itself a variety of ways, but you will most likely experience a bumpy ride and vibrations from misalignment. The easiest way to diagnose the cause of this is to take your car to a mechanic for a detailed inspection. But you can tell if something's wrong by attempting to pry the control arm away from the frame. If there's more than 1/8" of play, then the rubber in the control arm bushings has become too weak and loose. That means your car's chassis is leaning too much into turns and bouncing too much over bumps. This kind of sloppy ride is not only inconvenient and unpleasing, but it also means you car could lose steering response and cornering capabilities in case of emergency. Fresh, new control arm bushings will keep your car or truck driving straight and stiff, giving you a great feeling when you drive.
Why are control arm bushings important?
Your control arms connect the steering knuckle, spindle, springs, and shocks to the chassis of the car. Control arm bushings
are pressed into the ends of each arm where it connects to the body. Without them, driving would be absolutely miserable. These bushings typically consist of a metal outer shell and a metal inner sleeve bonded together with a very durable rubber or urethane material. Once it is pressed into the control arm, a bolt will pass through the sleeve in the center and attach it to the chassis. The elastic material between the outer shell and the inner sleeve will dampen and absorb vibration from the road, providing a smooth driving experience. A worn out control arm bushing will usually show deterioration of that rubber, and the vehicle will come out of alignment wearing down the tires unevenly and transferring vibration throughout the body of the car.
How it's done.
Replacing your control arm bushings is no easy task. It requires time, patience, and some special tools. Also, every vehicle will be a little bit different so be prepared for some unique challenges. First and foremost, you must be comfortable with removing your control arm to work on it. In order to do that, you must:
- First, lift the car and put it on jack stands. Remove the wheel from the hub that you will be working on.
- Next, unbolt the brake caliper from the steering knuckle and set it aside. Make sure you do not put any stress on the hydraulic brake line. Then remove the rotor.
- Now you will be able to see where the control arm connects to the chassis and to the spindle. Loosen the nut that fastens the ball joint to the spindle, and unbolt the hardware holding the control arm to the car. Once you have removed all the hardware, you can drop the control arm.
- Using a press, remove the control arm bushings. You will want to clean and hone the empty hole before installing the new ones.
- You can press the replacement control arm bushing into place, and reinstall all the components in reverse order.
- Finally, get an alignment check and you're done.
Don't wait any longer to fix your suspension.
Steering and suspension issues are no joke, and if you know that you're driving on bad control arm bushings then you are on borrowed time. We offer a great selection of top quality brand name parts for your car or truck, as well as economically priced alternatives to the expensive original equipment. That means we have every based covered when it comes time for you to replace your control arm bushings.