Are you having some issues like some extremely frustrating squeaking noises when you are driving? Most notably when you are turning the wheel on a sharp corner and you feel like the undercarriage of the vehicle is falling apart? You are probably suspecting the control arm and you want to learn the control arm bushing replacement cost? If that’s the case, you are at the right place. We will teach you everything when it comes to these bushings.
Getting things done is probably the best decision that you made since these problems cannot be delayed because the more you delay, the bigger they become. The control arm bushings are not a joke since they guarantee your stability on the road. Without them, you risk getting hurt and end up in an accident. Not to mention that other vehicle components are also suffering since they are exposed to a lot of stress.
That’s why you need to learn everything when it comes to control arms and how do they work. And when the bushings have to be replaced with new ones and also how this practice is done. We are going to help you learn precisely that.
In this article, we are going to learn the basics. What is a control arm and what are the control arm bushings? Then we will cover the symptoms of bad control arm bushings because you have to know them. To recognize this problem, we also going to explain how to diagnose these bad bushings with a close inspection. After we diagnose, we will guide you on how to replace them and we will elaborate on the control arm bushing replacement cost. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the topic.
What Is A Control Arm And What Are The Bushings?
The control arm is the most important piece of the puzzle. The control arm is connecting your wheels with the vehicle. If there is no control arm or the control arm is bent. The wheels will not be attached to the car and the car will crumble and fall on the ground.
The control arms are rather hefty pieces of metal that are extremely durable. They hold all the weight that is put on them and make sure that the car is driving on the roads with no issues.
There are two control arms on each side. An upper control arm and a lower control arm. Both of these control arms are working the best they can to keep the car on the road.
Both of them are mounted on the sturdiest points of the vehicle, namely the vehicle’s frame. Then they are connected with the knuckle that the wheel is attached to.
The control arms move as the vehicle is driving on uneven terrain. So, to keep the flexibility and make the control arms adaptable to the conditions of the road, there were bushings that were installed on the control arms.
The bushings are rubber components that allow the control arm to move up and down without creating any friction. This guarantees that the vehicle is keeping its driving characteristics without losing comfort. The bushings are absorbing all the vibrations when you drive. If your bushings are bad, there will be metal-on-metal contact and some unpleasant driving experiences will be felt by yourself and your passengers.
But what about the control arm bushing replacement cost? We will cover the cost after we discuss the symptoms of bad bushings.
Symptoms Of A Bad Control Arm Bushings – Control Arm Bushing Replacement Cost
Like with every other component in our cars, when the control arm bushings are failing, they start to develop symptoms. Some of these symptoms are mild while some of them can be annoying and can ruin your day. But how can you recognize if you have bad control arm bushings? Let’s find out.
Steering Pulls To The Side
One of the first symptoms, when the bushings are completely shot, is the pull that you will feel while you are driving. For example, you drive on the road and the car steering wheel pulls on to the left or the right.
In this case, you have to make adjustments whenever the steering wheel tries to escape from your hand. This is a dangerous situation. If you don’t learn the wheel behavior and you don’t adjust the steering wheel then you know you are in trouble.
In the worst-case scenario, your car will run off the road and you will end up in a ditch. This can have potentially fatal consequences for you and your occupants.
If your steering wheel is pulling on one side then you know that you have a problem and this problem needs solving as soon as possible.
The reason for this can be the bushings or could be something else related to the suspension. The problem has to be diagnosed first. Then if your bushings are bad, you should start looking for control arm bushing replacement cost. To learn more about the prices of this work.
We will later elaborate on how you can diagnose this issue by yourself since it is not a complicated procedure. Then we will teach you how to replace your bushings as well. So, follow along.
Uneven Tread Wear – Control Arm Bushing Replacement Cost
Uneven tread wear is also one of the symptoms of bad control arm bushings. The uneven tread wear means that the thread of the tires doesn’t wear evenly as it should. In this case, one of the tires will have good thread wear and the other tire will have tread wear that looks weird. It will be worn either from the inside or from the outside.
This tire is no good anymore and you should not drive your car like this. Why I’m saying this? This is because the tire will lose all of its characteristics and you will potentially end up in an accident.
Your car will not drive as it should. There is a big chance that the car will slide when you brake and the ABS will turn on more often than it should.
Also, it may happen to lose grip in wet conditions and end up in an accident. This will most notably be the case when you drive on a painted surface like a crosswalk. The car will slide like it’s on ice in these situations.
Also, in winter conditions you will have a lot of problems with maintaining grip as well. The tires will not grip anymore as they should. This means that you will need to investigate the culprit behind this. I’m saying this because a bad alignment or worn tie rods as well can ruin your thread wear.
And how you can diagnose bad thread wear? It’s extremely simple to do. Park your car and take a look underneath. If there is a wear line on one of the tires or the left or right side is more worn than the other side then it means that there is uneven wear. Simple as that.
Noises Coming From The Underneath
When your bushings are going bad you will notice some weird sounds that are coming from underneath the vehicle. These sounds can resemble a squeaking sound if there is a play between the bushing and the control arm. Or they may sound like knocks if there is no bushing anymore.
This means that the car is not driving as it should anymore and this can damage your subframe and control arm as well.
This is the case because the metal is rubbing against the metal and there is a lot of friction. More friction means more potential damage to the vehicle. That’s why when you hear knocks it means that things are serious and need diagnosing. We are going to explain later how this practice is done properly.
Nevertheless, these noises are more noticeable when you drive on an off-road terrain that has a lot of uneven surfaces or when you drive above potholes.
Potholes can tell you a lot about your car’s suspension. The more you feel them, the more chances that something is wrong with your suspension components.
If you diagnose bad control arm bushing. Then looking for a control arm bushing replacement cost will be the perfect next step that you can take to solve your problem. How much it is going to cost you we are going to share after we cover all the symptoms and the diagnosing process.
Car Is Unstable Under Hard Braking
Your car will also be unstable during hard braking if you have bad control arm bushings. It will very likely want to pull on one side where the bad bushing is located.
This pulling can change the direction of your vehicle when you are braking since you don’t have complete control of the wheel when you brake. This can result in driving the car on the wrong path and possibly can make you crash into something.
That’s why if your ABS is turning on more frequently and also your traction control light turns on more often than it should (to find out more, check out our guide on what is traction control on a car). Then you know that you have a problem with the suspension and this problem has to be diagnosed and checked accordingly to prevent tragic events.
After you diagnosed the problem, you might want to also look for control arm bushing replacement cost. Later in this article, we are going to cover all the prices in great detail for you to have a better idea of what you should expect to pay for this service. But first, let’s discuss the vibrations and they are one of the last symptoms of a bad control arm bushing.
Vibrations In The Cabin And The Steering Wheel
If you have a bad bushing in one of your control arms. You will also very likely experience vibrations inside of the cabin and the steering wheel. If metal is rubbing against metal, then things can be pretty bumpy inside of the cabin. This problem will be most notable when you accelerate or when you drive on some rugged terrain.
These vibrations on the wheel can also be caused by other suspension components that can go bad as well. And it’s up to you to diagnose the problem and address it accordingly.
The vibrations can be pretty annoying if you drive your car a lot on a daily basis and can ruin your driving comfort. You probably don’t want that and you need to get this problem fixed before it becomes something bigger. Look for control arm bushing replacement cost and learn more about the prices of installing new bushings. That’s something that we are going to cover later in this article.
But first, let’s see how you can diagnose bad bushings. This is important because many mechanics can misdiagnose problems on your car and you might end up paying thousands of dollars. That’s why diagnosing the problem by yourself will save you a lot of money. So, how to diagnose bad control arm bushings? Let’s find out.
How To Diagnose Bad Bushings? – Control Arm Bushing Replacement Cost
Diagnosing bad bushings is a pretty straightforward business. It’s not that difficult to diagnose them and see which ones are bad.
The simplest method is to turn the wheel all over to the right and then wiggle the wheel left and right and see if there is a noise coming from the front. You can try this method in the opposite direction as well. If it develops a sound then this means that the bushings have to be inspected.
To inspect the bushings, you will need to jack the car in the air and see the bushings. Removing the wheel will be useful for you to gain some access.
Turn on your flashlight and see the condition of the bushings. If they have cracks developed along with them or if they are damaged and there is a lot of play it means that these bushings are done and have to be replaced. And how you can replace this bushing in your car? Let’s find out in the next chapter.
How To Replace Bushings DIY?
This work can be done by almost anyone that has decent mechanical knowledge. You don’t have to be an expert. You just need to know how to access the bolts that are holding the control arm. This is the case because the whole control arm needs to come out from the car to have these bushings replaced.
This work at a shop is probably going to cost you a lot of money. But we are going to explain how to do this work for cheap. For this work, you will be required to have two same-size wrenches to remove the bolts that are holding the control arm. Preferably a power tool. A power tool on the one side and a wrench on the other will do the trick very well. But if you don’t have the power tool, two wrenches will do the trick.
Also, you are going to need a press, the press is required to remove the bushings from the control arm. You can look for this tool online, it’s pretty cheap. So, let’s start explaining how this process is done.
The first thing you need to do is to jack up your car in the air and secure it with jack stands. The car has to be stable because these bolts that are holding the control arm are some hefty bolts. When you will start to remove them, the whole car will wiggle if it is not secured with jack stands. Also activating your parking brake will be recommended practice as well.
The next thing you need to do is to remove the wheel. This is needed because you cannot access the bolts that are holding the control arm if the wheel is still in place.
Once you removed the wheel, the next thing you need to do is to remove the bolts that are holding the control arm in place.
The first bolt is the bolt that is holding your sway bar end link. To get this bolt out, you will probably have to jack your front suspension a bit. A secondary jack will be extremely useful.
The next bolt is located right below the CV shaft which is connected to the knuckle. This bolt is pretty stubborn and you will probably need a hammer to hammer it out. To get it loose. This bolt is holding the ball joint. So, it will be useful to replace the ball joint as well since you are already in there.
And the last bolts are the ones that hold the control arm to the frame. To get these bolts out you will need two wrenches. One to hold one of the bolts tight. The other to unbolt the other bolt.
Once you removed the bolts from the frame, you can remove the control arm from the vehicle.
For this step, you will need a press to press the bushings out of the control arm. Without this tool is almost impossible to remove them since they are pretty tight.
For this purpose, you will have to learn how to use the press and remove the bushings out. Once you removed them. You will also need the press to install them on the control arm again.
The last step involves reassembly of the control arm and installing it in the same fashion as you removed it from the vehicle. Make sure that you don’t have leftover parts!
Pro Tip: If you don’t want to replace the bushings, you don’t have to. There are already control arms with bushings that are sold and they are just plug and play.
Pro Tip 2: If you decide to replace the control arms and the bushings, make sure that you do a wheel alignment later. This is the case because the car will not drive straight and you might have uneven tire wear.
But what is the control arm bushing replacement cost at a shop? Let’s find out in the next chapter.
Control Arm Bushing Replacement Cost
If you don’t want to deal with all this work by yourself and you just want to take your car to a shop to get it fixed this is a good option as well. There are a lot of places that do this kind of work on the cheap and you will not have to pay top dollar to get this work done. So, what does the control arm bushing replacement cost? Let’s discuss.
Let’s see what are the prices that some of the most popular places across the US offer. The first place that has several locations is Mr.Tire and for the parts and labor, they will require you to pay between $145 to $690. They also offer a 12-month warranty for this job.
The second place that caught our eye is NAPA. Their service will cost you somewhere between $156 to $645. They offer a 24-month warranty.
Midas is also a good option to get your bushings replaced with prices between $148 and $651 with a 12-month warranty.
One of the cheaper and the most popular places is Walmart. Their warranty is limited, but they will do this job for between $45 to $490.
DIY Car Bushing Replacement: Step-by-Step Guide
- Bushings are rubberized sleeves or linings that reduce friction or vibration at mechanical joints. They are found in several objects, including cars, RV’s, ATVs, skateboards, and archery bows.
- Bad bushings in your car can cause popping noises, irregular wear on your tires, and a shaky steering wheel. The most commonly replaced car bushings by DIYers are located on the lower control arms that connect the car frame to the wheel spindles.
- Safety comes first when working on your car. Always wear protective eyewear and gloves to protect your eyes and hands from any sharp debris or rust that can come from worn parts.
- To remove the control arm, start by removing the wheel using a jack to raise the car and a tire iron to turn the lug nuts counter-clockwise.
- You will need to release the ball joint using a large wrench, and the sway bar link using a 14-15mm wrench.
- Use a 19-22mm wrench to loosen and remove the control mounting bolts. After the bolts are removed, the arm joint will likely be less stable, so hold it in position while removing the second bolt.
- To replace the bushing, mark the orientation of the bushing with a permanent marker on the control arm before removing it using a hydraulic press, a threaded press, or a hammer.
- Push out the excess rubber using a socket and place the new bushing in the control arm facing the same direction as the previous bushing.
- Use a hydraulic press to secure the new bushing into the arm.
- To reinstall the control arm, slide it back into the mounts, replace and tighten the bolts by hand, tighten the ball joint, reinstall the sway bar link and nut, insert and tighten the mounting bolt, replace the lower ball joint castle nut and cotter pin, and finally, reinstall the wheel onto the car.
Conclusion – Control Arm Bushing Replacement Cost
In this article, we have covered a lot when it comes to bad control arm bushings. We have learned the basics and what bushings really are and what is their purpose.
Then we have covered the bad control arm bushing symptoms. These symptoms included vibrations in the cabin and noises coming from the undercarriage. Also, shaking and uneven thread wear are also present. Then we learned how to diagnose bad bushings.
We have made a detailed guide on how to replace the damaged bushings at home. This job can be difficult for some people and that’s why we recommend replacing the whole control arm.
Lastly, we have covered the control arm bushing replacement cost. There are a lot of places where you can do this work and I think Walmart is the perfect place if you want to save some cash.