Symptoms of a Bad Lower Control Arm Bushing and Replacement Cost

(Updated on March 10, 2021)

Every vehicle has a suspension system which links all the wheels and tires to it. What you must realize is that this suspension system is not just one big part. It is actually made up of many different parts and components. Most cars will have something called an upper control arm and lower control arm for its front wheels, and possible for its rear wheels too. The front wheels have a front suspension and the control arms connect the frame of the vehicle to the front suspension. At the end of each control arm, there is a rubber bushing which has 2 metal sleeves encasing a rubber lining.

Top 3 Symptoms of Failure Lower Control Arm Bushing

As wheels move under the vehicle’s frame, there tend to be vibrations that form in between them. The function of the lower control arm bushing is to lower the intensity of these vibrations underneath it as much as possible. This will allow the driver to avoid being disturbed by the vibrations while they’re trying to focus on the road. However, if the lower control arm bushing were to go bad or get worn out, there would be two pieces of metal making contact with each other and then you’d have a lot of problems.

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Below are the top 3 symptoms that you can expect from this.

  1. Vibrations – Since the function of the lower control arm bushing is to reduce the intensity of the vibrations, then you can expect to feel these vibrations if there is a problem with the bushing. This could happen because the bushing will get worn out after a while. The first symptom you’ll likely notice is the feeling of vibrations coming from the steering wheel. The more you step on the gas pedal to accelerate, the more intense these vibrations will feel. If you set the vehicle on cruise control, then the vibrations may be reduced some.
  2. Strange Noises – When you have a worn out lower control arm bushing, it may start to get too loose. Either that or it got knocked loose from all the rough driving. In any event, this will cause strange clunking noises to come from under the vehicle. These noises will intensify as you drive over rocky terrain because it will put more pressure on the worn bushing. Sooner or later, the bushing is going to break because of this pressure. It is better to get the bushing replaced before it gets to this point.
  3. Steering Difficulties – There is something called “steering wheel wandering” where the wheels will pull to the left too much or to the right too much. This will cause you to struggle more to keep the steering wheel straight so that your wheels will be straight. When the lower control arm bushing is worn out, there will be a shift in the steering alignment of the vehicle. That is why it pulls too far in one direction like this. So, when you’re driving down a straight road, it will take a lot more effort on your part to keep it steered straight. This is obviously not something that you’ll want to put up with.

Read also: 5 Symptoms of a Bad Drive shaft and Replacement Cost

The Average Replacement Cost

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The replacement cost of a lower control arm bushing will be anywhere from $150 to $420. The cost of the parts will be from $40 to $200, while the cost of the labor will be around $100 to $210. Please note there are other factors which could influence the price, such as the made and model of the vehicle, and the added taxes and fees on top of the normal prices. If you want to save on labor costs, you should find an auto mechanic that has the best hourly rate.

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