There are many different parts used in the suspension systems of cars and other heavy vehicles, such as the suspension control arm, ball joint, sway bar, link and control arm bushing. In the suspension system of vehicles, each part has a different function. The suspension system helps with controlling and balancing the vehicle.
Control arm bushings are also an important and useful component of a vehicle’s suspension system. If the bushing parts of the control arm get damaged, it can affect the entire suspension system of the vehicle. Through this article, you will get detailed information about control arm bushing.
What Is A Control Arm Bushing
The Control Arm Bushing is a component used in the suspension system of a vehicle. This bushing serves to connect the control arm to the frame of the car, thereby eliminating the slack in the vehicle’s suspension system between the vehicle’s frame and also helping to absorb vibrations and shocks from the road.
The control arm bushing balances the vehicle and also eliminates abnormal noise coming from the suspension system. Control arm bushings are usually made of rubber or polyurethane.
Control arm bushings are designed to provide a comfortable and safe ride for the vehicle. But a bad or damaged control arm bushing can severely affect the safety and performance of the vehicle and cause the entire suspension system to fail.
Symptoms Of A Bad Control Arm Bushing
Symptoms of a bad control arm bushing are Clunking or Knocking Noises, vibration problems, loose steering, uneven tire wear or poor handling feel.
1. Clunking or Knocking Noises
Often, damaged or worn control arm bushings of a vehicle’s suspension can make knocking or clunking noises from under the vehicle as the vehicle drives over bumps in the road or other uneven surfaces.
Because the control arm bushing is worn or damaged, the control arm and the vehicle frame become loose, due to which the control arm starts hitting the frame when shaking.
2. Vibration Problems
Damaged or worn control arm bushings can often cause vibration to be felt in the vehicle’s steering wheel or throughout the vehicle.
And the problem of vibration in the steering wheel or in the entire vehicle is felt more during high speed of the vehicle. However, there can be many other reasons for the vibration problem in the steering wheel.
3. Loose Steering
Often, a damaged or worn control arm bushing can cause a vehicle’s steering system to become loose or wobble, making it difficult to keep the vehicle on a straight line and causing the vehicle to veer left or right instead of straight during high speeds.
4. Uneven Tire Wear
Damaged or worn control arm bushings in a vehicle’s suspension can cause uneven tires wear, as a worn control arm bushing can cause the vehicle’s tire misalignment to cause more friction, which can reduce tires life. Handling may also deteriorate, and problems with vehicle control and balance may occur.
5. Bad Handling
Damaged or worn control arm bushing of the vehicle’s suspension system results in poor handling of the vehicle, as the worn control arm bushing causes the vehicle to veer left or right on the road during high speed, causing the vehicle to steer off the road. It becomes difficult to control the vehicle when going around corners or on uneven surfaces.
Causes Of A Bad Control Arm Bushing
The failure of the control arm bushing of a vehicle’s suspension system can be due to a number of different reasons that directly affect its functioning of the control arm bushing. These reasons can be of the following types:
1. Age Effect
The control arm bushings in a vehicle’s suspension are made of rubber or other materials that can wear down over time due to exposure to heat, cold, and other elements. As control arm bushings age, they can become less flexible, and wear is a common process.
2. Effect Of Use
The functioning of the control arm bushing of the vehicle’s suspension depends on the usage of the vehicle, so the more the vehicle is driven, the more stress is exerted on the control arm bushing, which causes more rapid wear of the control arm bushing.
If your vehicle is driven on rough or uneven roads most of the time, it will wear out more quickly.
3. Vehicle Weight
The weight of the vehicle can severely affect the control arm bushings and other suspension parts. Heavy vehicles often put more stress on the control arm bushings, which can cause the control arm bushings to wear out faster.
Often, the control arm bushings of heavy cars are damaged more quickly than those of lighter cars.
4. Vehicle Overloading
The vehicle manufacturer determines the vehicle’s load carrying capacity at the time of manufacturing, and keeping this in mind, the control arm bushing of the correct size and capacity is installed.
But sometimes the vehicle is driven on bumpy roads for a long time while overloading. This causes the control arm bushings to wear out sooner and more quickly.
5. Road Effect
Often, the control arm bushings in a vehicle’s suspension have a direct impact on the type of road the vehicle travels on, because if the vehicle runs on bumpy roads most of the time, then the control arm bushing will have to withstand more shocks, causing the control arm bushing to wear out faster. Therefore, rough roads have a worse effect on the vehicle’s control arm bushings and other suspension parts.
6. Improper Alignment & Maintenance
Often, the control arm bushings of a vehicle’s suspension get damaged quickly due to improper alignment. Because improper alignment puts a constant amount of stress on the control arm bushing, this causes the bushing to wear out more quickly, and improper maintenance of the vehicle’s suspension system can also lead to damage to the control arm bushing.
How Does The Control Arm Bushing Work?
Control arm bushings are used in the vehicle suspension system and provide a flexible connection between the control arm and the vehicle frame.
The control arm is the main component of the vehicle suspension system that connects the knuckle to the vehicle frame. The control arm connects the wheels and tires to the vehicle frame.
The control arm allows the car’s wheels to move up and down when you drive the car on an elevated or lowered road surface. Control arm bushings are usually made of rubber or polyurethane, which provide control arm mobility and help reduce road vibration, shock, and noise.
Control Arm Bushing Types
Different types of control arm bushings can be used in a vehicle’s suspension system depending on the make and model of the vehicle. There are generally four types of control arm bushings.
- Rubber Bushings
- Polyurethane Bushings
- Delrin Bushings
- Bearing Bushings
- Hydro. Bushings
When Should The Control Arm Bushing Be Replaced?
There is no set time to replace the control arm bushings of any vehicle’s suspension system. The wear and tear of the control arm bushing depends on a number of other factors. Because these reasons and conditions may vary from vehicle to vehicle.
But when the following symptoms related to the suspension of the vehicle are observed, such as vibration in the vehicle or steering wheel, uneven tire wear, unusual noise coming from the suspension, and rubbing of tires from the fender line while turning the wheels.
How To Replace Control Arm Bushing
To replace the control arm bushing, you’ll need the proper tools. These tools are as follows.
- Jack Stands
- Lug Wrench
- Torque wrench
- Ball Joint Press or Control Arm Bushing Tool
- Large screwdriver
- Grease or Lubricant
Control Arm Bushing Replacement Process
- First of all, you have to lift the vehicle from the designated side.
- Next, place jack stands under the vehicle to aim for safety.
- Now loosen the wheel nuts and remove the wheel.
- You will then need to use a ball joint press or arm bushing tool to remove the damaged bushing.
- Clean the area of the control arm where the new bushing is to be installed.
- Apply grease to the new control arm bushing so that it fits snugly.
- Press the bushing into the control arm with a ball joint press or bushing tool.
- Next, reinstall the wheel and tighten the nuts with a torque wrench.
- If the control arm bushing is damaged on the other side as well, then repeat the same process on the other side.
- In this way, you can change the control arm bushing.
Control Arm Bushing Replacement Cost
Control arm bushings Replacement cost can average between $250 and $350, including mechanic labor costs. But taxes and fees are not included in this estimated cost.
A unit of control arm bushing for common cars can cost on average between $150 and $220, and a replacement by a mechanic can be expected to cost between $100 and $130.
However, The replacement cost for the control arm bushing depends on the make and model of the vehicle and the mechanic’s labor rates and location.
If you get the control arm bushing replacement done by an independent mechanic instead of a certified garage mechanic, you can expect some savings on the mechanic’s labor costs.
Q. What if the control arm bushing fails?
If your vehicle’s suspension control arm bushing has failed or is damaged, you may experience bad symptoms. Such as – vibration in the steering wheel during high speed, unresponsive steering, uneven tire wear and unusual noise.
Q. Can you drive with worn control arm bushings?
No, it is not safe to drive a vehicle with a bad or damaged control arm bushing. because worn bushings can break away from the control arm at any time. If these break during the high speed of the vehicle, then they can also become the cause of the dreaded accident.
Banty is the owner of Autorepairszone.com & is also a vehicle mechanic by profession. We have almost 12 years of experience in the field of automotive repair, and we strive to provide you with accurate information about vehicle malfunctions and repairs based on our experience.