How to Check the Control Arm Bushing

by Lee Sallings

The control arms in you vehicle attach the wheel and hub assembly to the frame of the car. They allow the wheel to move up and down while preventing forward and rearward movement. Rubber bushings are used in the control arm to provide a flexible attaching point for the control arms to the frame. In most cases the bushings are responsible for locating the control arm in the proper place to maintain wheel alignment. Over time bushings are prone to wear out due to heat and weather; you should check them from time to time to prevent excessive tire wear and erratic handling symptoms. The average home mechanic can check the control arm bushings in just a few minutes.

Step 1

Apply the parking brake and block the rear wheels to prevent movement of the vehicle. Raise the front of the vehicle off the ground with a floor jack and slide jack stands under the front frame. Lower the car onto the stands and remove the floor jack.

Step 2

Remove the front wheels using a lug wrench. Visually inspect the upper control arm bushings, pressed into the ends of the control arm bolted to the frame, and replace any bushings that are split or are misaligned. Position the floor jack under the lower control arm and raise the control arm and suspension. Push in and pull out on the upper control arm using a pry bar. Replace any bushings that allow the control arm to move.

Step 3

Slide under the vehicle. Visually inspect the lower control arm bushings for cracking, splitting and oil saturation. Insert the pry bar between the frame and the lower control arm. Pry out on the control arm while observing the bushings and the shaft that passes through the bushings. Replace any bushings that are damaged or allow the lower control arm to move.

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