What does bad control arm mean? It means to say that there is a worn control arm bushing or bad ball joint. If this fails you up, symptoms will come up expectedly. These can range from steering wander to clunking noises. In this article, you will learn more about the bad control arm bushing symptoms and repair, including replacement cost.
What is a control arm bushing? This simply is a connection between the vehicle frame and the front suspension. Two control arm types are known as well: the lower control arm and the upper control arm. They have a side-mounted type of rubber bushing. Now, the rubber sleeve will cover the 2 parts of the metal, making the connection. That way, they will touch each other without bringing damage to each other.
The rubber does not just do this. It, even more, dampens the car and its vibrations from minor jolts and shocks. The rubber absorbs and softens the vibrations. And this is better than the springs thinking about where it is situated.
Susceptibility of Ball Joints & Bushings
The lower control arm has its bushings and ball joints. And, these are susceptible to wear and tear process. This is also because the lower arm is supporting the vehicle’s weight. Among those that can compromise the bushings and ball joints are random damage, environmental factors, off roading, and hard-driving. But, knowing the bad control arm bushing symptoms earlier can save you from handling a failed part on the road.
Symptoms of Bad Control Arm
Below are so far the symptoms of bad control arm that you need to be familiar with.
1. The Decrease in the Braking Performance
The control arm bushings may have no connection with the brake system. But still, they influence the vehicle braking. Once the control arm bushings have turned out so bad, the braking won’t be affected simply. But, it will, later on,become unstable. I am an auto technician who has so far knowledge in this sense. The front end, most of the car will bounce back and then forth. It is the inertia that is responsible for making this happen as the car stops. This also can bring about problems in the future. The additional vibration it brought causes other parts to lose or to break off.
2. Drop in the Comfort Level
When the control arm bushing has gone awry, a drop in the comfort level is also noticed when driving. This is brought about by the control arm bushings that are dampening the car’s vibrations. This is also true while driving on the uneven roads.
I experienced my driving before and driving over different things on the road. I drove from the other things to small stones lying flatly. As my vehicle rolls over the debris on the road, it won’t vibrate. Now, the control arm bushings help in dampening the vibrations caused by this. Thus, I was able to drive comfortably.
I could tell that the control arm bushings are already worn out. I would hear rattling noises while I am driving. This is also when I turn my car around. I would usually be saddened by this making my driving experience unpleasant.
3. Uneven Tire Wear on Front Tires
The control arm bushing will maintain the 2 metal sleeves tight. The sleeves will get a bit of play as they were worn. This is also as they vibrate and move while the car is also moved. With the control arm that is linked to the front wheels, the control arm that is moving will obstruct the wheels. That way, there will be less contact on the surface of the road than the other side. This, therefore, leads to the front tires wearing unevenly.
When you accelerate from such a dead stop, you will observe the steering becoming wobbly. The front part of the car also shakes up and jitters. This is upon turning the car at a certain speed. Or, this is also upon pressing the brake. This is also because the control arm bushing could not lubricate the 2 metal sleeves connected.
Click here to know how to fix a shift bushing and how much It costs to fix it.
Control Arm Replacement Cost
I am an auto technician who can suggest you of the cost to pay when replacing a bad control arm. Although this may seem not a hard task, still, you need to rely on a professional one. This is especially if you do not know the suspensions and the cars. The control arms won’t break just as the bushes. It is as well suggested changing the bushes each year.
Bring your car to the nearest mechanic and have it repaired there. Be prepared for the cost between one-hundred fifty-dollars to four-hundred dollars and the labor. It will also depend on the model and make of the car.
Know suspension parts, Read all about KYB shocks.
Methods on How to Repair Bad Control Arm
Below are the methods to consider when repairing bad control arm bushing.
This is by far the most difficult method when removing the control arm bushing. This is suggested still to you as a non-professional. An arm is placed in the vise. Or, hold on the ground. Beat the control arm bushing using a hammer.
An air hammer is used in this method. It effectively chisels the shell’s edges. It also drives wedges in a series through the shell. This shrinks the shell allowing you to drive the shell out of the arm. This is also without bringing damage to the arm.
Manual Threaded Press Method
This is an easy option among do-it-yourself builders like you. This allows you to use a tool, making it happen. Firstly, prepare for the assorted cups, ball joint press, and socket. These are needed in complementing the outer shell of a control arm bushing.
Hydraulic Press Method
This is the fastest and easiest method of installing and removing the control arm bushing. The steps mentioned in the threaded press are followed as per the operation.
Next Read: Bad U Joints Symptoms
There will always be causes for the symptoms of bad control arm bushing. Check both the lower and upper control arms as they tend to wear out. Replace the arm or the control arm bushings and damaged ball joints. Resolve the problems that cause the symptoms. Seek help from a professional auto technician regarding this matter to solve the problem at hand.
James is a certified auto technician specializing in commercial vehicles. With 30 years of experience under his belt, James has encountered almost every type of automotive issue there is! Besides his day job at the repair shop, he is also an amateur race car driver.