Symptoms of a Bad Control Arm Bushing and How to Diagnose It
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Do you know how vital the Control Arm Bushing is? It is an imperative component of your vehicle when it comes to cornering. Furthermore, it plays some roles in comfort by absorbing shock during driving.
Though a bad Control Arm Bushing is not something that can terrify your safety, it can affect your driving comfort.
Below, read and be informed about some of the symptoms and the way to diagnose the bad Control Arm Bushing.
Most people consider the entire suspension system of a vehicle as "a single unit." The fact is that it consists of several components that play different roles.
The control arm is among the components that connects the frame and the front suspension of the vehicle.
Arm bushing is designed to serve the purpose of absorbing shock when the vehicle passes over the small bumps. It usually has an inner metal sleeve connected via a central rod to the vehicle frame.
Designed with two sleeves; the outer sleeve is connected to wheel assembly via the control arm, and the inner sleeve is connected via the central rod to the frame of the vehicle.
The two sleeves move independently, and it is the rubber bush that provides lubrication between them.
If the rubber wears out, is when you will start experiencing symptoms like what we are going to talk in this article.
The Symptoms of Bad Control Arm Bushing
Well, without wasting any further time, let’s identify some of the signs that can tell you when the control arm bushing is not working to its best.
Leaning Vehicle While Cornering Or Reduced Responsiveness In Steering
Steering problems are among the indicators of not correctly working control arm bushing. The steering can lose some responsiveness.
At high speeds, the vehicle can even "wander" or turn primitively. While driving, you will feel how the wheel vibrates. The vehicle can lean to a certain degree on sharp turns.
Clunking Sound And Wobbling Wheels
A bad arms control bushing affects smooth driving. One of the reasons why it was made is to absorb some shock thus facilitating a smooth ride.
The bad one will not achieve this goal but instead will cause some annoyance and disturb your comfort while driving.
You will not be comfortable when turning or reversing and you hear a clunking sound. Yes, you will wonder if you are damaging something and you will not be comfortable.
Sudden Improvement In The Braking System
At the moment you see that your brakes are now sharper than it used to be, the first thing to do is to attribute the scenario to the bad control arm bushing.
When the forward and backward vibration of the control arm is not present during the application of brakes, the vehicle will brake suddenly.
Backward Movement When Accelerating
If there is a backward movement in the rear end of the vehicle on acceleration, consider checking the control arm bushing. When accelerating or turning slowly, the steering begins to shake, and a tug is observed.
How To Diagnose The Bad Control Arm Bushing
Though there are many symptoms and ways to diagnose the bad control arm bushing, the below-mentioned ones are almost to everything.
Acceleration and Extreme Turns Test
Take the vehicle for a test drive, preferably on a traffic-free and safe road that can allow for quick acceleration, and extreme turns.
Try accelerating quickly to higher speed and turn suddenly or extremely. On hearing a clinking sound, vibration or if there is wheel misalignment, your control arm bushing is not working to the best.
Axle Slip Test
To do this diagnosing procedure, you need the help of someone. Jack the vehicle and apply the brake to stop the rotating wheels. When the axle slips momentarily during the rotary movement, changing the control arm bushing should be considered.
Swing the Control Arm
Lift the vehicle with a jack and swing the arm control from side to side using an 18-inch handlebar. Ideally, it should spring back to its original position when in good condition.
You should also slide the metal sleeve aside and examine the edges of the rubber bushing. If the control arm is not centred in the bushing, the bushing must be replaced.
You might also check if there are cracks on the bushing, though this has nothing to do with what we are talking about.
Assessing the Tire for the Uneven Wear
If your vehicle is suffering from bad control arm bushing, definitely it is also suffering from wheel miss-alignment, and this causes uneven wear of your tires, either inside or outside.
Let’s Answer Some Frequently Asked Questions
1. I hear a clunking sound when driving, should I replace the whole arm?
Unless the arm itself is not working as expected, perhaps as a result of an accident, it does not need to be replaced. If the problem is originating from the bushings, you are only required to replace the bushing.
2. Is polyurethane an appropriate material for suspension bushes?
Yes. Indeed they are the most suitable material for this. The elasticity of the polyurethane allows the control arms to move as intended and the tensile strength protects your car from cornering, braking, accelerating and poor road surface.
3. How often should I change control arm bushing?
Since they are vital components of your car which play an essential role in maintaining its speed and smoothness, car experts recommend that you have to change them after every 10,000 miles of driving.
This is on the account that they are the hard workers of your car that does rigorous work in the most challenging conditions.
4. Why should I make sure that suspension bushing is working?
Because they are applied to act as an absorber of noise and vibration that result during driving.
5. Is it difficult to change the arm control?
It is not difficult, and you can do it by yourself. However, if you feel like having little knowledge, experience or lack required tools; hire the help of an expert.
What you have to put in mind is that some of these symptoms can also be attributed to the worn tie rod ends, stabilizer links, ball joints or even the control arms themselves. If in doubt, the vehicle should be examined by a specialist.
Whenever a lousy bushing is felt, it is imperative to replace it. Negligence of these symptoms can result in a more significant problem that can cost you a lot.
Since these bushings wear out very quickly, you are required to replace them once a year as per what most experts recommend.