Control arms are a key part of your vehicle’s suspension that control your vehicle’s ride, steering, and handling. It connects each wheel to the frame of your car. It is connected to the frame by bushings that allow the control arms to shift up and down as needed to influence the vertical movement of the wheels. This vertical movement is crucial in allowing the wheels to respond to bumps and pothole in the road. The control arms also control the movements of the shocks and struts, which absorb the shock the suspension feels from these road irregularities. The control arms are connected to the wheels through ball joints.
Depending on the layout of your car’s suspension, the control arm setup may look different in your vehicle. Many modern cars utilize strut-type suspensions which will only have a lower control arm on each wheel. Vehicles that utilize a double wishbone suspension design will have both upper and lower control arms. Control arms also have a big role to play when getting the alignment of your vehicle proper.
Control arms may go by a variety of different names, including:
- rear camber arms
- track control arms
Signs of a bad control arm
Your ability to control and steer your vehicle can become compromised by a bad control arm, which is a huge safety hazard. If left ignored, bad control arms may cause you to lose enough control to cause a collision. Collisions, corrosion, hard wheel impacts, and normal wear and tear can all cause a control arm to go bad. Below are signs that may indicate one or more of your control arms have gone bad:
- Steering issues such as pulling to one side, wandering, or inability to drive straight
- Abnormal noises when going over bumps, steering, accelerating, or braking
- Steering wheel vibrations
- Uneven tire wear
Control arm maintenance
When a control arm goes bad, the best solution is usually to replace it with a new one. Even if the issue is only limited to the bearings or ball joints, your mechanic may recommend just replacing the control arm entirely as it is usually more cost-effective. After you get your control arm replaced, it is recommended that you get a wheel alignment, as this will need to be set perfectly with the new control arms to avoid issues.
The best way to get maintenance on your control arms is to book your appointment through CarAdvise. CarAdvise makes car care simple and guarantees that you’ll pay less than shop price for all services.