The lower control arm bushings are critical parts of your car’s internal framework, helping to connect the vehicle’s frame to the steering knuckle. These parts may seem small, but they are crucial to the car’s steering qualities and suspension. Knowing the average lower control arm bushings replacement cost can help you make an educated decision on where to get this procedure done. Since the bushings are crucial components of the steering system, the replacement process will need to happen as soon as possible.
The cost for new bushings ranges between $5 and $150, while the average labor costs for this procedure range between $100 and $200. You are looking at around $105 and $500 for the lower control arm bushings replacement cost as a total price. Luckily for most drivers, the total lower control arm bushings replacement cost is much less daunting than other severe problems, like an engine replacement or a transmission repair.
Lower Control Arm Bushing
This mechanism’s primary function within your car is to reduce vibration produced between the frame and the wheels. By lowering the vibration and the shaking, the lower control arm bushing keeps the control arm aligned during all situations and movements. Lessening the car’s vibrations allows for a more comfortable and smooth ride for the driver and passenger. It can reduce any further damage that could otherwise increase the lower control arm bushings replacement cost.
Without these control arm bushings, metal on metal contact would occur. If there is extensive metal on metal contact in your vehicle, this can increase internal friction, heat build-up, driving discomfort, excess vibrations, and increased shaking inside the car. Frequent metal on metal contact will lead to extensive damage and a much higher lower control bushings replacement cost.
Lower Ball Joint
The lower ball joint is a crucial part of your steering system to reduce vibration and control your car’s shaking.
The ball joint consists of a bearing stud and socket that are both contained within a small casing. The bearing is tapered and threaded and fits into the steering knuckle. The protective casing prevents any debris from getting inside and adds some extra protection. This rubber-like boot allows movement and a flow of lubricant. The motion-controlled ball joints are controlled with an internal spring, which prevents any excessive vibration during the linkage.
Lower Ball Joint Function
In modern cars, the lower ball joint is the pivot between the wheels and the suspension, the system of tires, tire air, and springs that connect a vehicle to its wheels and allow motion, allowing the car to move. With almost all cars in production today, they are used in the front suspension, but can also be found in the rear suspension in luxury automobiles. If you're planning on replacing both in your car for the rear and front suspension, this can increase the lower ball joint price.
Sealed lower ball joints do not require lubrication over time since they are primed for their entire lifespan, reducing the lower ball joint price. Before ball joints were designed for periodic lubrication, this was minimized to reduce the maintenance requirements and lower ball joint price.
Since the lifespan is so long, this can reduce the replacement of the lower ball joint price. Even though there is no lifespan of a lower ball joint, they can fail around 80,000 miles in modern vehicles and sooner in older cars. Signs of wear and tear of the lower ball joint include when a sudden bursting sound is heard by the driver and can result in the ball joint falling apart completely.
Lower Ball Joint Replacement Steps
When you decide you finally need to replace the lower ball joints in your car, this can increase the lower ball joint price. However, replacing a ball joint is fairly simple and will not break the bank for most people. It can take a while to remove all of the different pieces that comprise a lower ball joint, but it will not be too complicated.
Prep the Work Area
The first step in getting ready to replace the lower ball joint is to prep the work area. Ensure your car is positioned on a flat surface and block both of the rear wheels, making sure they do not roll anywhere by accident. Jack the front wheels off of the ground for some extra clearance, and use some jack stands if you have them.
Inspect the Lower Ball Joint
Next, inspect the lower ball joint and make sure this is the real issue. You don't want to replace a working ball joint because you have noticed some of the symptoms without confirming. Determine if your vehicle has a strut suspension or a control arm, checking for wheel play near the ball joint. If there is any space between the lower ball joint and point of contact, the lower ball joint needs to be replaced, enhancing the lower ball joint price.
Buy the Replacement Ball Joint
Third, buy the correct replacement ball joint assembly for your car. Check out your local auto shop and make sure they have the right par for your specific lower ball joint make and model. Usually, a new ball joint replacement will cost you about $80-$90 if you purchase it new. In comparison to using a mechanic or a local professional shop to do the lower ball joint replacement, this is a significantly reduced lower ball joint price for the fix.
After you have the new lower ball joint, you can remove the wheel and make sure you can access the lower ball joint. Depending on your specific car’s steering setup, you might have to move the brakes as well. In addition, try to avoid hitting or moving the brake rotor, caliper, and line without removing the entire set up.
If you do, you will have to bleed the brakes, which is much more time consuming and might require a mechanic, which will increase the lower ball joint price replacement.
Symptoms of a Faulty Control Arm Bushing
By knowing the signs of a faulty lower control arm bushing, you can determine the total lower control arm bushings replacement cost. Once the lower control arm bushings start to wear past the point of return, you will notice a lot of problems in your car – which hopefully alert you to get your vehicle fixed as soon as possible. Fixing the problems with the control arm can help prevent any future issues.
One sign that something is wrong with your lower control arm bushings is a clunking sound coming from underneath your car. These sounds will get louder and usually intensify when you drive over uneven terrain like dirt, rocks, rough pavement, or bumpy roads. While driving on uneven roads, the hard braking or constant struggle of going over bumps causes the loud banging noise.
The loud noises coming from underneath your car can be due to the control arm bushings becoming too loose and broken down over time. As you might assume, the loud sounds and the rattling result from the lower control arm bushings getting knocked around under the car. The bushings are nestled between the frame and the control arm, resulting in the loud banging noise and a higher lower control arm bushings replacement cost.
Steering Wheel Pulling
Another symptom of a bad control arm bushing is that your steering wheel pulls to either side or the other while driving. The steering wheel pulling reiterates a misalignment problem with the wheels, and the uneven wear could also damage your frame. The wheels wear down unevenly due to the worn bushings, resulting in the steering wheel having to compensate.
Since the lower control arm bushings function to keep the vehicle frame and the control arm securely in the right location, lower control arm bushings that have become damaged can leave space for too much movement. This abnormal rotation and excess motion in the system misaligns the wheels due to the uneven tread and wear.
Wheel misalignment is generally caused by a few key aspects in your car and the lower control arm bushings wearing down. The leading causes are sudden or massive impacts that have misaligned the wheels, like hitting a pothole, striking something in the road, getting into a fender bender, or bumping a curb and unevenly balancing the tires and wheels.
In addition, old and damaged parts caused by wear and tear are the second cause of misaligned wheels, directly relating to the bad lower control arm bushings and higher lower control arm bushings replacement cost. Parts like suspension springs and bushings can become worn and slack over time, leading to a wheel alignment shift.
Lastly, when the suspension has not been changed to the specific car, then your car’s height modification might end up in a misalignment of your wheels.
Vibrating Steering Wheel
When the lower control arm bushings begin to fail in your car, one of the first symptoms you will notice is an increased amount of vibration felt through the steering wheel while the vehicle is running. Typically, these vibrations will increase while the vehicle is accelerating. These driving conditions occur when you are driving uphill, revving your engine, or driving at highway speeds, like trying to pass another road.
Increased vibration is the result of the uneven and unsteady wheels caused by the lack of sturdiness and strength within the suspension system.
In addition, wheel misalignment is the leading cause of the vibrating steering wheel. One of the fastest and easiest ways to determine any misalignment is by analyzing the tire’s tread. If you notice that the tires wear out unevenly and break down more on the outside than the inside, this is a sure sign that the wheels are misaligned. Along with the misaligned tires and uneven wear, if the steering wheel shakes while you are handling the wheel, you need to check the wheel bearing.
A damaged suspension is easy to notice, seen by a shaky steering wheel, strange noises from under the wheel, wobbly steering, and a malfunctioning ABS sensor. These causes of a vibrating steering wheel directly relate to an inadequate control arm bushing and can influence the total price of a lower control arm bushings replacement cost.
A vibrating steering wheel can also occur due to other reasons in your vehicle. If your tires are unbalanced, extra pressure and weight are added to the new wheel. However, this added weight can shift or fall off, resulting in an unbalanced wheel, causing the car to shake while driving at high speeds and jerk while accelerating. This unbalanced wheel and tire can be due to the lower arm bushings not having a secure connection, resulting in a higher lower control arm bushings replacement cost.
Lower Control Arm Bushing Replacement cost
The total price average for a lower control arm bushing replacement cost is between $105 and $400 for a replacement. However, when you get a lower control arm bushing replaced, the mechanic will also have to check other mechanisms and components. While he checks the other parts, he will usually notice something damaged due to the lower control arm bushings damage. In this case, he will replace other suspension parts simultaneously, increasing the total lower control arm bushing replacement cost.
When replacing suspension components, it is possible you might not need an alignment. Still, this is frequently left up to the mechanic to determine if the wheel wear is uneven, the wheels are misaligned, and the tread wear is uneven, meaning they need to fix the alignment at the same time.
As you can see, the total price average for a lower control arm bushing replacement cost is usually between $105 and $400 for a replacement. Figuring out the faulty signs of lower control arm bushing can help keep the repair and replacement costs low and keep your car working at a high level!