What Do You Need To Know About Your Car's Control Arm Bushings?

Posted on: 27 September 2022

Your car's suspension and steering systems contain many relatively small parts that can greatly impact your car's performance on the road. Many of these components slowly wear out over time, making it easy to miss the signs of trouble. Since your car's performance only degrades slowly, many drivers tend to adjust to the changes without realizing how far it's fallen from its original factory performance.

Control arm bushings are a common culprit for this sort of long-term degradation. Your car's control arms are a critical part of its suspension and steering system, but they're typically rigid steel. The bushings provide flexibility as your car travels over uneven terrain, keeping your vehicle stable while also helping to maintain a smooth ride.

Knowing When You Need New Bushings

You won't find control arm bushings listed in many manufacturer maintenance intervals, but that doesn't mean that they don't require routine replacement. While these parts can last for many miles, rough roads, potholes, and general wear and tear will eventually cause them to fail. In most cases, the rubber will degrade, crack, and, if left for long enough, tear away completely.

Worn-out bushings will cause many problems associated with wheel misalignment and other basic maintenance issues. These symptoms include drifting, difficulty steering, and vibrations. As the bushings continue to fail, these problems will also worsen, making it challenging to keep your car driving straight. Completely torn bushings often make loud clunking noises on bumps or when turning.

Choosing Replacement Bushings for Your Car

Different manufacturers use different designs for their control arms. In some cases, the bushings may not be removable, so you'll need to replace the entire control arm when the bushing fails. In other cases, the bushings are individual components you can replace as they wear out. Replacing the bushings and not the entire control arm is usually much more cost-effective.

You may also be able to choose between several different types of bushings for your car. Factory or OEM bushings will provide similar handling, performance, and comfort. However, some companies offer aftermarket upgrades, which may use alternative materials such as polyurethane. These bushings typically last longer and may improve handling but can create a much harsher ride.

If you're unsure what's right for your situation, you should speak with an experienced local mechanic or auto parts store. Since your control arm bushings can substantially impact how your car drives and feels, it's a decision that's worth spending some time considering and discussing with an expert. Whatever you choose, replacing old, worn-out bushings is sure to improve your car's handling.

Reach out to a car parts shop to learn more.


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