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What Is an Idler Arm?

by Heather Potter

Proper steering control is crucial to driving safety, allowing the driver to maintain accurate control of the vehicle. The idler arm is a component of the steering system in a vehicle. Not all cars have steering systems. Most sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and trucks have steering systems, as do some passenger models.

Identification

The idler arm consists of a ball joint, an arm and pivot bushing. The idler arm is on the passenger side of the frame rail.

Function

The idler arm connects the steering box to the center link. The center link is what turns the hubs and allows a vehicle's tires to rotate. The idler arm controls the passenger side steering in a vehicle.

Problems

A faulty idler arm usually leads to the car pulling to one side. Drivers may also notice one tire is more worn than the other. A loose steering wheel is another indicator of a worn out idler arm. Drivers may also notice a noise when turning corners.

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