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Control Arm Kit Guides

Control Arm Kit Buyer's Guide 

Summary

  • A control arm kit is composed of a control arm itself and a few other complementing subcomponents that you’ll need to install it.

  • There are two common types of control arm layouts: MacPherson and double-wishbone. 

  • In a MacPherson Strut layout, the wheel is attached to the vehicle’s subframe via a single control arm.

  • Double-wishbone offers better stability as the two wishbones—the upper and lower control arms—improves the wheel’s negative camber.

  • There are a number of reasons why you’ll need a control arm kit, but for the most part, bad or failing control arms should be replaced immediately for your safety. 

  • Driving a car with a bad control arm is unsafe as you won’t have full control of how your wheels might behave in different road conditions.

  • Control arm kits on CarParts.com cost around $6 to $450.

There’s a lot going on under your car for you to enjoy that comfy ride, thanks to your car’s suspension system. The suspension system is a combination of individual components that aren’t only designed to provide a comfortable ride, but also to limit the movement of the wheels within the safe angles. Part of your vehicle’s suspension is a set of control arms.

Now, depending on your vehicle, it could either have a single-piece or a pair of control arms per wheel. This means that if you ever find yourself in need of a replacement, you first have to know what kind of control arm your car is using. When it comes to replacement, you’d need to buy a specific control arm subcomponent like bushings or an entire arm. If you need a complete control arm overhaul, you may resort to purchasing a complete kit.

What is a control arm kit?

A control arm kit is composed of a control arm itself and a few other complementing subcomponents that you’ll need to install it. Control arm kits can vary depending on the set of components packaged by a seller. If your vehicle uses a two-arm control arm setup, a control arm kit consisting of an upper and a lower arm is what you need. It could range from simply consisting of a pair of arms to having spare bushings and other pieces of hardware.

Difference between a MacPherson strut and a Double-Wishbone Layout

There are two common types of control arm layouts: MacPherson and Double-Wishbone. There are a number of conditions that dictate which of these layouts car manufacturers use. Most front-wheel-drive vehicles only use a lower control arm which usually exhibits an A-shape arm. This is why you’ll hear some people refer to the control arm as A-arm. Meanwhile, trucks and other larger vehicles typically employ two control arms per wheel.

Here’s for a clearer understanding of the differences between a MacPherson strut and a double-wishbone layout:

MacPherson Strut Layout

In a MacPherson Strut layout, the wheel is attached to the vehicle’s subframe via a single control arm. This layout features a rigid lower control arm that connects the steering knuckle to the chassis via a pair of bushings. Bushings are used to lessen noise by negating vibrations from metal-to-metal contact. MacPherson struts are usually found on subcompact to compact cars, although performance vehicles are equipped with double wishbones.

Double-Wishbone Suspension

Double wishbone offers better stability as the two wishbones—the upper and lower control arms—improve the wheel’s negative camber. It also provides consistent wheel alignment and on-point steering. In a double-wishbone setup, a lower control arm connects the steering knuckle to the subframe. It’s also where the sway bar is mounted, unlike in a MacPherson where the sway bar is directly linked to the strut.

Aside from the lower control arm or the main control arm, a smaller upper arm is located right above the main arm, hugging the strut. Double-wishbone suspensions are commonly found on SUVs, Trucks, and race cars.

Why you need to replace your control arm/s

There are a number of reasons why you’ll need a control arm kit. For starters, it could be due to repair or performance upgrades. For the most part, bad or failing control arms should be replaced immediately for your safety. That’s because control arms are responsible for guiding the upward and downward movements of the wheel, limiting the highest and lowest points at which it should reach.

Driving a car with a bad control arm is unsafe as you won’t have full control of how your wheels might behave in different road conditions. When replacing your control arms, be sure to examine the extent of the damage first. Worn out bushings can sometimes be repaired by replacing the bushings. However, bent metal arms require a full replacement of the control arm.

Make sure that you immediately replace a damage control arm so you can avoid any suspension-related accidents in the future.

How much is a control arm kit?

Usually, price varies depending on the number of components including in a kit. The wide range of selection on CarParts.com will cost you as low as $6. The list also includes premium products that excel both in the quality and quantity of parts making up the kit. If you’re leaning more on quality and have the budget to spend, control arm kits can cost as much as $460.

While shopping online is as easy as clicking a button, take time to do your research and check if a product really fits your car. To find the right fit, input the year, make, and model of your car in the filter tab under the search menu. You may also choose from the category on the left-hand side of the page.

Helpful Automotive Resources

How to Replace a Front Lower Control Arm
November 27, 2019
How to Replace a Front Lower Control ArmControl arm replacement can be difficult—especially if the vehicle’s suspension is rusted and corroded. Separating the ball joint from the steering knuckle can be tricky, too, if you’ve never done the job before. And, oh yeah, you’ll want to get your car’s alignment checked after replacing the control arm. Front Lower
How to Diagnose a Faulty Control Arm
November 26, 2019
How to Diagnose a Faulty Control ArmReading Time: 3 minutesControl arms are basically just big hunks of metal. Unless they suffer impact damage from, say, a collision, they rarely fail. Instead, what usually require replacement are the bushings and ball joints that are built into the control arm.
Common Control Arm Symptoms
November 21, 2019
Common Control Arm SymptomsWhen it comes to car parts, control arms don’t get a lot of attention. Instead, it’s all about engines and transmissions. You know, the big, expensive stuff. But control arms are important, too. And they can be a real bear to replace if they’re rusted or seized in place.
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