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Control 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.
It is not safe to drive with a bad control arm because when the control arm or the bushings are worn out or broken off, steering will become unpredictable and dangerous for you and the other drivers. Your vehicle can pull to one side randomly even though you are keeping the steering wheel straight.”
- Clunking Noise. Specifically coming from the control arm and usually following a bump, braking, or a hard turn.
- Steering Wander. Pulling to the left or right without input from the steering wheel.
- Un-Even Tire Wear. …
Having damaged control arms and worn bushings or ball joints could cause suspension parts to become misaligned. When this occurs, you may experience issues with steering and handling. Usually you’ll notice noises first, either while turning, stopping or driving over speed bumps.
On the difficulty scale from 1 to 10, replacing a control arm is 7 or 8. In the shop, it takes about 1-1.5 hours to replace one control arm.
It is not necessary to replace both lower or both upper control arms if one is bad, but often they wear out at roughly the same mileage. If one control arm is bad and the other is on its way, it makes sense to replace both arms at once. This way, you only need to do the wheel alignment once.
Over time, the control arm assembly can become worn or bent. These assemblies normally wear out between 90,000 and 100,000 miles. They can wear out faster if you go over a large pothole or are involved in a car accident. Various parts of the assembly may wear out as well, such as the bushings or ball joints.
The cost to replace a control arm bushing will vary greatly depending on the make and model of your vehicle. The cost for a new bushing ranges between $5 and $150, while the average labor costs are between $100 and $300. This means you’re looking at a total of between $105 and $450 for one bushing replacement.
With the damaged or worn-out control arm, you can drive your vehicle for a week or less but it should be repaired as soon as you detect the problem through the methods given above before the suspension gets broken.
- #1) Clunking Noise. One of the first things you’ll notice when one or more of your vehicle’s control arms goes bad is a clunking noise. …
- #2) Vehicle Pulling to the Side. …
- #3) Uneven Tread Wear. …
- #4) Vibrations When Driving. …
- #5) Visual Damage.
The bushing allows the lower control arm to move easily, and it can wear out over time, especially if you drive on rough roads very often. To replace the bushing for the lower control arm, you will pay about $210- $670. The cost of labor should be between $95 and $255, while parts should run you $115-$415.
- Clunking or rattling noises coming from the front suspension.
- Excessive vibration in the front of the vehicle.
- Car wanders, steering is off to left or right.
- Uneven tire wear.
Many cars have at least four control arms: One for each wheel. Some cars have upper and lower control arms. Made from a strong and highly-durable metal, the rear control arms, which are sometimes referred to as trailing arms, connect to the frame at one end.
An alignment after replacing the lower control arm is absolutely required. Because the likelihood of the new control arm, (plus the other parts that should be replaced during this procedure), of being the EXACT same dimensions are extremely unlikely.
If the control arm is bent from an accident, replace the whole thing. If the bushings are worn out, the best is to get new bushings. Buuut, you’ll have to put it into a press. When I did my VW, I took out the control arms, and brought them to a shop, who pressed them in for free.
Yes, when you do any major work to the front suspension, you need to have the alignment done. Even though the parts are “basically” the same, they are not exact. Newer parts will be tighter than old (less deflection and no wear), so will put the alignment into a different position.
Checking the control arm bushings is pretty easy. Place a pry bar on the control arm near the bushing. Then attempt to move the control arm back and forth (you may also want to try moving it downward, depending on the bushing design). Don’t use a lot of force while doing this—be gentle.
Some ball joints are connected to the control arm in one assembly, which must be replaced as a complete unit; part kits for this average about $500-$650. CostHelper readers report paying $112-$400 or an average of $249 for do-it-yourself materials for a project that took three to six hours of work.
Wear and Tear – The lower control arm is put under stress each second you are driving your vehicle. The bushing of the lower control arm is put under even more stress because it must keep the arm attached to the frame. As you pack more miles onto your vehicle, the lower control arm bushing wears down excessively.
Summary. If you’re adding a lift kit to your vehicle, remember that the upper control arm influences wheel travel, suspension durability, and wheel alignment. If you’re looking for a suspension modification that improves overall vehicle performance with no compromises, a replacement control arm is a good place to start …
Most failures occur from the ball joint failing. Complete ball joint failure can cause a steering knuckle disconnection and loss of control of the vehicle. Control arm bushings can also wear and fail, creating clunking, wandering steering, and loss of control.
The control arm should be repaired or replaced as soon as there’s any sign of damage, and control arm replacements costs are typically $117 – $306 for the majority of vehicles. The part itself will normally cost between $42 – $103, with labor time usually an hour or two.
- Steering Wheel Vibration. Steering wheel vibration is a major symptom of malfunctioning upper control arms. …
- Steering Wandering. If you have any steering wheel wandering, it may be a sign of a malfunctioning upper control arm. …
- Clunking Noises.
A ball joint parts cost for most cars is usually around $80 – $150 each, but it can cost as high as $350 each in some luxury or performance cars. Meanwhile, labor cost is usually around $250 – $300.
Tie rods are steering components that keep the front tires in alignment with the steering wheel and help turn the wheels when a driver turns the steering wheel. Symptoms of a worn or damaged tie rod are clunking noises when you turn, play in the steering wheel, uneven tire wear, and the vehicle pulling to one side.
- Inability To Steer.
- A Squealing Sound When You Turn. …
- Uneven, Excessive Tire Wear. …
- Misaligned Front End. …
- A Steering Wheel that Feels Unusual. …
When your tie rods go bad, the symptom you’re most likely to experience first is a vibration or shaking sensation in your steering wheel. You may also hear associated clunking and rattling noises, especially when turning the vehicle at low speeds. These sounds are caused by tie rods that are starting to wear out.
In simple terms, control arms are the link that connects your front wheels to your car. … The upper control arm connects to the uppermost area of the front wheel and the lower control arm connects to the lower most area of the front wheel, with both arms then attaching to the frame of the car.