Some customers’ tires can wear out prematurely because suspension geometry is not being maintained over bumpy roads or going around curves. Experts say control arms on modern vehicles have two primary responsibilities: control and isolation. In this Tire Review Continental Tire Garage Studio video, we’ll discuss the importance of replacing control arms and bushings when necessary.
Control arms should always be replaced in pairs. Worn out or torn bushings are the most likely reasons for replacing a control arm, but some customers will say “I don’t really need to replace both, right”? For those in the industry, this is like asking, “When you change my oil, can you only fill it halfway?” If the left control arm is worn out or the bushing is torn and making noise, it’s safe to assume that the right control arm bushings are just as worn or following close behind.
Control arms are typically made of aluminum or steel, so they can take a beating, but the rubber bushings inside are their kryptonite. Over time, the rubber inside the bushings may deteriorate, dry rot, crack or split. When this happens, customers may experience abnormal tire wear or the steering wheel may appear to be off-center while the vehicle is traveling straight down the road.
Another reason why replacing these components in pairs is necessary is due to the ball joints. Ball joints typically cannot be replaced separately, so the entire control arm needs to be replaced. The ball joints are critical to vehicle alignment, so these control arms should also be replaced in pairs. Inspect the ball joint boot and look for signs of dry rotting or cracks, as well as leaking grease.
This next reason might be extreme, but if a control arm has been damaged or bent by a severe impact, or a careless tow truck driver, it has to be replaced. Customers should not drive around with damaged control arms.