When is the right time to replace your control arms?
Are you hearing a bumping or clunking sound from one side of your car, even when you are driving on smooth roads? Can you push in or pull out the top of your wheel and tire when the car is parked? Is your steering wheel shaking at 50mph? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you might have a failing or broken control arm. The instability caused by an old or worn out control arm is more than just an inconvenience; it's dangerous and means they need to be replaced. Even if you think you may only have an alignment problem, or that your tires may just need to be rotated, don't rule out considering getting your control arms checked. There is no manufacturer's suggested replacement interval for this part, however regularly harsh driving conditions or a collision could damage valuable suspension parts. A good mechanic or repair shop can spend less than an hour under your car and tell if your control arm bushings, ball joints, or both are past their prime.
What do control arms do?
Some automotive parts have been around since the birth of cars; however the control arm was actually an improvement on the beam axle design of the early 20th century. This new technology offered each wheel independent vertical movement and travel, something that a beam axle and kingpins did not. Control arms
are usually found in pairs on each front wheel; one upper and one lower. Both connect to the steering knuckle, usually through a ball joint which allows the spindle to pivot (or steer) left and right. There are usually a set of bushings located at the points where the arms mount to the car's frame or chassis. Often times, the control arms will also be connected to other suspension components such as the sway bar links and struts. More advanced suspension systems may have up to four arms on each side which helps stabilize the car under cornering while still giving each wheel the freedom to move quickly. These multi-link systems are usually more expensive to maintain, but provide a superior driving experience.
A little elbow grease.
Replacing your control arms, bushings, or ball joints is not an easy task. It requires some machinery that can usually only be found in a repair shop, however a trained and experienced mechanic can make easy work of it.
** A great deal of care should be taken when doing any sort of work on your car, and proper tools must be used since the coil springs are still compressed. A set of automotive spring clamps may help keep the coils in place while you remove the arm.
- First, the car must be jacked up and the wheels must come off.
- Next, all the nuts that fasten the control arm to the sway bar link, steering knuckle, strut, wheel hub and spindle must be removed, plus whatever hardware that attaches it to the frame or chassis.
- Finally, the original control arm can be rebuilt and re-installed or the new one installed using the same steps in reverse.
You've tried the rest, now try the best.
With the wide variety of suspension parts you can find online, purchasing the right control arm can seem like a daunting task. But we are here to make it easy for you. Whether you are looking for an inexpensive replacement that will get you back on the road without breaking the bank, a quality name brand reproduction that will last as long as your original, or the genuine original equipment itself, Car Parts Discount has one of the widest selections around. We carry control arms and other suspension parts that fit anyone's budget, and can ship from dozens of warehouses across the US. That means you save time and money when you buy parts here.