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Control arms are the links that hold the suspension together. They are all different shapes and sizes and contain bushes and ball joints to interconnect suspension components together. They tie the suspension to the vehicle body on one side and the wheels and tyres on the other. They are strong and sturdy, made from steel or cast metal so they won't bend when you hit a large pothole or bounce over a speed hump.
They were designed to last the life of the vehicle. In more recent times they are being replaced if bushes or ball joints contained in the arm are worn out and need replacing. If this is the case the bush or ball joint needing replacement is not available separately. The vast majority will let you change the offending worn out bush or ball joint to get you back up and going. Ideally, replace the same unit on the opposite side to the worn out one at the same time.
Popular Questions Asked
How expensive is it to replace a Control Arm?
It is very dependant on the size and complexity of the arm, brand of vehicle and parts availability. Approximately $250 to over $500 for a control arm and then add another $140 to $250 for the labour to install it.
How do I know if my Control Arms are worn out?
The control arm itself never wears out. It will be the ball joint or bushes on it that wear. The telltale clunk, rattle or squeak is a sure sign. Also a vibration in the car or through the steering, uneven tyre wear or pulling to one side are indicators. The arm may get bent if hit hard enough. A quick visual comparison between the right and left side is all that is needed to verify if this is the issue.
Is replacing a Control Arm difficult?
Depends on the vehicle and what it is connected to. A rear control arm with a bush at each end will be way quicker and easier than a front upper control arm with a spring, ball joint and bushes connected to it.
If replacing the arms in the examples above and assuming the new bushes and ball joint is already mounted on the control arm, then the rear will be a lot quicker than the front. The rear may only need hand tools and 20 minutes where the front needs hand tools, spring compressor and ball joint separator and takes an hour and a half. It is a good idea to get the wheel alignment checked when replacing a control arm.