Control Arm Bushings, not exactly a party topic......

Control Arm Bushings, not exactly a party topic......

Why You Should Replace Your Control Arm Bushings

Your suspension system is made up of many components that work together to provide a synchronized driving experience. When bits and pieces of a suspension system malfunction or wear out, it drags the entire system into distress, negatively affecting performance, raising safety hazards, and will likely result with costly repairs. This article will discuss the significance of control arm bushings and why you should replace them. The risks of insufficient handling performance can be easily avoided once you understand the function of which control arm bushings serve.

What Purpose Do Control Arm Bushings Have?

A control arm is a hinged link that connects the chassis of your vehicle to its suspension system. It serves a vital role in maintaining rigidity throughout travel and strain off your axle. Without a control arm, the vehicle would practically have no control from all of the wheel's forward and backward movement along with shock. Control arms provide a controlled clearance of activity in which the shock holding the wheel can move and operate within.

These control arms have three endpoints that obtain a type of bushing. Having bushings are paramount on control arms because they prevent metal on metal contact and offer the necessary dampening of vibration and shock. A suspension system is frequently under load and movement, making rubber bushings the ideal material to provide a secure hold while still allowing necessary wiggle room. When under a lot of load and strain, control arm bushings absorb the pressure by about half an inch. This leeway in movement allows the suspension system to avoid damage under certain conditions, such as hard accelerating/braking, cornering, or going over bumps at speed.

Consequences of Bad Control Arm Bushings

Safety is essential in operating your motor vehicle. Worn and tired control arm bushings reduce the quality of your driving experience by hindering the ability to handle your vehicle in an effective and precise manner. When a component within your suspension system is not working properly or is flawed, you are essentially risking your life if the issue was to become severe.

Damaged or failing control arm bushings also serve a significant threat to your vehicle. Not only will you begin to lose control over your steering and handling abilities, but you will also be damaging crucial elements of the suspension system as a whole. These elements include introducing strain, wear, and tear on your shocks and springs.

Moreover, aside from introducing damage to other suspension system components, a bad control arm bushing can quickly degrade its counter bushings' quality. The three endpoints of a control arm discussed earlier work together, so when one begins to go bad, it adversely affects the other two.


Don't feel like pressing in and out bushings? Replace the whole arms with new bushings already in it.   RSX 02-04 Control Arms shown above.


The Importance of Replacing Control Arm Bushings

Since bushings consist of rubber, which allows a small amount of movement, it is essential to note that this rubber does degrade over time and wear out. As tough as rubber control arm bushings are, they are not made to last forever. Normal wear and tear, salts, oils, chemicals, and environmental factors all play a crucial role in decreasing the lifespan of control arm bushings. Bad control arm bushings also prevent the vehicle from being appropriately aligned.

The first sign of bad control arms bushings is experiencing abnormal handling behavior from your vehicle. You can be driving, and suddenly, have your front end swerve to one side or the other. This occurrence most likely indicates a damaged bushing or bushings. Since there is an unexpected movement coming from the vehicle, that unwanted movement originates from the control arm bushing.

A sign that your control arm bushings are especially bad is if there are obvious cracks and tears on the bushing body. Physically degraded components can sometimes be more serious than a component that has lost its structural integrity. Cracks and tears on the bushing body may not affect the handling capabilities, but it is a surefire way of knowing that the bushings have failed to maintain their form and need replacement to prevent future catastrophic failures. 

Another symptom of a worn control arm bushings can also exist if there are no visual outside cracks or tears present on the bushing. This occurs when the bolt sleeve in the middle is off-center due to rubber degradation. With the bolt sleeve being off-center while your vehicle is stationary, unwanted movement will occur within the bushing body while driving which will result in a vehicle that possesses inconsistent and unpredictable handling. .

What Are My Options?

Typical factory control arm bushings last up to 7 years or 90,000 miles. However, that is not to say that you should be trouble-free for 90,000 miles if you choose to purchase a factory replacement set. Most factory bushings do not last 90,000 miles due to related suspension components that are already worn, geographical location, and driving habits. Everyone drives and maintains their vehicle differently, so it is paramount to understand these ever changing factors that are associated with the proper functionality of your control arm bushings

Furthermore, changing your control arm bushings before its service interval is something that we recommend to prevent encountering problems out on the road when it becomes too late. 

There are options with various types of material and durability standards for control arm bushings. The following are the available aftermarket replacement control arm bushings manufactured from harden rubber for stability reinforcement. This material will effectively survive well over 90,000 miles, which results in much greater longevity and durability when compared to factory replacement bushings.

Hardrace Front Lower Control Arm Bushings:

2004-2008 Acura TSX / 2003-2007 Honda Accord

2006-2011 Honda Civic

2002-2006 Acura RSX / 2002-2005 Honda Civic Si EP

Harden rubber is constructed from the heating cycling of the vulcanization process, where it is pressurized in a mold. Mixed with sulfur and other chemicals, the rubber is forced to retract and harden, becoming more robust and less prone to failures such as cracks or tears. 

Final Thoughts

Control arm bushings play an intricate role in the handling of your vehicle. When one or more of the bushings fail, it is time for replacement. We advise that control arm bushings are not only regularly inspected, but also regularly replaced. For what it entails, a little investment goes a long way in ensuring the safety of you and your vehicle. After examining how critical it is to replace control arm bushings, it becomes evident that small parts play the most prominent role. Replacing control arm bushings help aid in maintaining a vehicle's ability to handle well and respond effectively, keeping you safe out on the road.

Credits: S.K. and R.K.

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