(Updated on April 16, 2020)
The suspension system of any vehicle consists of tires, wheels, shock absorbers, springs, joints, bearings, and bushings. These all contribute toward allowing the frame and cabin of the vehicle to move on the ground. The way in which the suspension system is attached to the frame of the vehicle is by components called “control arms.” There is usually an upper control arm and a lower control arm. The way that a control arm can stay attached to the frame is with a part called a bushing. The lower control arm, for example, has a lower control arm bushing which allows that arm to stay attached to the frame. The upper control arm has a similar bushing.
Top 5 Reasons a Lower Control Arm Bushing Fails
The lower control arm bushing can easily become damaged or worn out over the course of operating your vehicle. Once this happens, the suspension won’t be firmly connected to the frame anymore. Then you will have all kinds of problems with steering and maintaining a smooth driving experience.
To help prevent a lower control arm bushing from getting damaged, you should learn about the most common reasons for this to happen. Below are the top 5 reasons for why the lower control arm bushing gets like this.
Accidental Damage – A lower control arm bushing is a very small and fragile part of a vehicle. If you have an auto mechanic working on your vehicle, particularly the suspension, then they could easily damage the lower control arm bushing throughout the course of their work. If the bushing is already worn out from being too used and old, then it will be even easier for the bushing to get like this. Once that happens, you should hear some loud and annoying clunking sounds.
Wear and Tear – The lower control arm is put under stress each second you are driving your vehicle. The bushing of the lower control arm is put under even more stress because it must keep the arm attached to the frame. As you pack more miles onto your vehicle, the lower control arm bushing wears down excessively. It will eventually get to the point when small clunking noises can be heard. But this point, you know you have a damaged bushing which needs to be replaced.
Rocky Terrain – If you are frequently driving on rocky terrain or travel roads which do not have an even smooth surface, then your lower control arm and bushing are going to take a lot of abuse. This will eventually lead to the bushing becoming loosened from all the vibrations and roughness of the driving experience. The continued irregular motion will cause the bushing to knock around a lot and get damaged in the process.
Driving Off Too Quickly – If you are the type of driver that switches to the driving gear and then slams their foot on the gas pedal, you need to think about the consequences of such actions. Peeling away too quickly like this will put a lot of stress on your lower control arm and its bushing. If you do this too regularly, the bushing is going to loosen and will be knocked around inside the system.
Not Tightened Enough – The lower control arm bushing needs to be tightly fastened in order to stay strong and durable. If the bushing were to become loose, it would constantly knock into the metal components nearby and cause annoying clunking sounds to be heard. Sometimes the wear and tear driving can cause bushings to become loose. Other times, it could be a mechanic who forgot to tightly fasten the bushing back onto the control arm. In any event, the bushing will get damaged if it keeps knocking into those components.