The suspension system on a modern car consists of many different components, but all are designed to help make the vehicle easier to control and more pleasant to drive. Some of these parts are under more strain than others and the control arms, in particular, need to ensure that the wheel hub assembly remains fixed to the vehicle. How do these arms work, what will cause them to wear out and why should you pay close attention to them?
Arms in Action
Many vehicles are fitted with two separate control arms, a lower and an upper. These are sometimes known as "A" arms and work in tandem with the suspension strut to control the movement of the wheel. If you drive an SUV or a larger pickup truck, you will likely find this setup on your vehicle.
How It Works
While the lower arm carries much of the weight of the vehicle, the upper arm is also critical. It is connected through a ball joint to a steering knuckle (on the one end) and through rubber bushes on the other to the vehicle frame. The arm itself will move up and down as the wheel encounters road undulations and is constantly under stress during normal conditions.
Ball Joints and Bushings
The bushings and ball joints are considered to be perishable items and, due to their design, will wear out after a certain amount of time. The ball joints are sometimes incorporated into the design of the steering arm, and if this is the case, the entire arm will have to be replaced too.
The steering arm may wear out by itself and especially if the vehicle is driven over rough roads and at high speeds. Sometimes, tiny cracks can appear in the control arm, and if this is the case, it'll definitely need to be swapped out.
Always ensure that you get the highest quality upper control arms should you need to fit a replacement. If so, you are unlikely to run into any problems associated with metal fatigue or excess use. However, remember to replace the bushings and joints at the same time, and to service the lower arm as well as the upper, just in case.
You may need to readjust the wheel alignment after you replace a control arm to ensure that the vehicle drives properly, and so that you cut down on excessive tyre wear.
To learn more, reach out to a local auto parts supplier that offers products like Whiteline upper control arms.
Hello, my name is Tina and I live in Syndey, Australia. I have always loved cars. The one thing I love more than driving my car up and down the streets and highways of the city is to spend time accessorising them. A lot of cars look very similar when they first roll off the lot, but by buying some sheepskin seat covers, a fluffy dice for the rear view mirror and some decal stickers you can make even the most boring looking car look exciting. I decided to start this blog to advise others who want to add things to their cars.