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Summary
  • Control arms connect the steering knuckle, which supports the wheel assembly, to the rest of the vehicle’s structure.
  • Signs of faulty control arm bushing include excessive vibration, strange noises, and uneven tire wear.
  • Control arm bushing damage is brought about by friction, heat, and age.

An automotive suspension system consists of various components that work together to help maximize the contact between its tires and the road. It ensures good handling and passenger comfort by evenly distributing the vehicle’s weight and absorbing shock and vibration. The system is also able to ensure optimal steering and handling by allowing the wheels to move vertically so that they can follow the contours of the road.

The control arms, also known as A-arms, are one of the suspension system’s many components. They connect the steering knuckle, which supports the wheel assembly, to the rest of the vehicle’s structure. They also feature bushings, which connect them to the vehicle frame.

Bushings allow the rigid metal control arms to pivot vertically from the frame so that the wheels can move up and down.

control arm bushing closeup
Control arms have bushings that connect them to the vehicle frame.

Since bushings serve as a pivot point for control arms, their condition can affect how the wheels move relative to the vehicle frame. As part of the suspension system, control arm bushings can also affect the wheel assembly. This means that, when they go bad, you can expect to experience some issues when driving.

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Read on to learn more about the telltale symptoms of bad control arm bushings.

Signs of Bad Control Arm Bushings

Here are some of the common signs of bad control arm bushings:

Excess Vibration

Worn bushings can cause the loosening of parts connected to the control arms, such as the steering knuckles and the wheel assemblies they support. This can cause wobbly wheels and, in turn, excessive play in the suspension system.

As a result, strong vibrations, which increase in intensity as the vehicle goes faster, may be felt through the steering wheel.

Unusual Noise

Worn control arm bushings can knock against nearby parts and create noise. The sounds become louder when driving over bumps and rough roads, as well as when braking or making a hard turn.

Some bad control arm bushing noises include clunking, banging, and rattling.

Pulling or Wandering

Bushings maintain the alignment of the control arms and the parts they hold. Bad control arm bushings will not only produce excess movement but can also cause the misalignment of parts. These can affect wheel movement and result in the vehicle pulling to the side even though the steering wheel isn’t moving.

Uneven Tire Wear

In addition to pulling or wandering, the misalignment of the control arms due to worn bushings can also cause tires to wear unevenly. Damaged control arm bushings can’t maintain the alignment of the suspension parts, thus unevenly wearing out tires’ inner or outer edges.

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Although these symptoms may be caused by bad control arm bushings, they can also be signs of other suspension issues. Perform a visual inspection of your control arm bushings to see if they’re worn or damaged.

You’ll easily be able to tell what a bad control arm bushing looks⁠—if it’s torn, hollowed-out, or sagging, then it’s gone bad.

rear tire
Misalignment of the control arms due to worn bushings can cause tires to wear unevenly.

What Causes Control Arm Bushings to Go Bad?

The vehicle’s weight and road impact can put considerable stress on the suspension system and cause wear on components like the control arms and their bushings.

Some of the other reasons that cause control arm bushings to fail include:

Friction, Heat, and Age

Control arm bushings hold parts of the suspension system which are constantly under pressure. While driving, the components of the suspension system move around and cause friction that generates heat.

Control arm bushings are also exposed to heat from the road and the car’s other mechanical parts. These can wear and age the control arm bushings, causing them to crack.

control arm bushing on white background
Control arm bushings are exposed to heat from the road and the car’s other mechanical parts, which could cause them to crack over time.

Exposure to Elements

Due to their location, control arm bushings are highly susceptible to potentially damaging elements like mud. They can also be exposed to road salt if a vehicle is driven on snowy or icy roads.

These components can also be affected by automotive fluids, which can damage and weaken the bushing’s materials.

Drying Out

Control arm bushings are usually lubricated to minimize friction and prevent squeaking. One type of bushing requires regular lubrication, while another is made to be permanently lubricated.

If not regularly lubricated. some control arm bushings can dry out.

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Is It Dangerous to Drive with Bad Control Arm Bushings?

Yes, driving with bad control arm bushings can be potentially dangerous.

Worn control arm bushings can cause the loosening and misalignment of suspension system components, which leads to improper weight distribution. This can make the vehicle unstable to drive.

Also, if the wheel and tire assembly move outward due to failed control arm bushings, you can potentially lose control of your vehicle.

Where to Get Control Arm Bushings for Your Ride

Worn or damaged control arm bushings can compromise your safety on the road. Good thing it’s easy to find replacement bushings for your ride here at CarParts.com.

You don’t have to go to a physical store to get high-quality control arm bushings. Simply go to our website and use our vehicle selector tool to narrow down our catalog to the parts compatible with your make and model. Don’t forget to include your vehicle’s model year and engine for a precise fit.

What’s more, we source our replacement parts from the most reliable brands in the industry. These components were chosen after strict quality checks to ensure performance and reliability.

Contact us through our toll-free hotlines if you have questions, and one of our team members will happily assist you.

Check our catalog now, and order your replacement control arm bushings today!

About The Author
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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