Most cars have two control arms in their front suspension, with the control arms, bushings, and ball joints being key parts of the vehicle’s suspension system. This system allows your tires to smoothly go up and down in a controlled fashion and lets you easily control your vehicle. Many vehicles that are front wheel drive also use only a lower control arm, fitted with lower control arm bushings. These bushings are located on the frame side of the vehicle, and the ball joint is located on the wheel side of the vehicle. The control arm bushing replacement cost comes out to an average cost of around $492 for the total job.
How does a control arm bushing work?
The purpose of the control arm bushing is to lessen the amount of vibration created between the frame and the wheels in order to keep the lower control arm aligned and straight in the right position. The limited vibration makes for a comfortable and easy drive with very few disturbance or performance deteriorations.
Without working lower control arm functional bushings, this can cause increased friction and metal on metal contact. This can cause vibration, driving discomfort, and potentially dangerous problems, which can cause a higher lower control arm bushings replacement cost.
Symptoms of a bad lower control arm bushing
The bushings in your car are made of a cylinder composed of rubber or polyurethane and are bonded to a larger and smaller cylinder of metal on both the inside and outside areas. The lower control arms are the pieces of metal that connect the vehicle’s frame to the steering knuckle, the point in the steering system where the car wheels and tires connect. These parts are huge to the steering and suspension of your vehicle.
Most front-wheel drive economy cars might only have lower control arms or lower control arm bushings, but other cars and other types of larger or more modern vehicles, like SUVs and trucks, have both upper and lower control arms in a different suspension assembly. If your suspension is damaged, this can mean a higher lower control arm bushings replacement cost.
The end of the control arms that attach to the steering knuckle has a ball joint that allows the ample movement and mobility, with the turning movements to transfer directly to the wheels. When you have a worn out, damaged, or bad lower control arm bushing, it can affect how your vehicle drivers sand the car’s performance. A damaged lower control arm bushing can mean a higher replacement cost.
Like other parts of your car, the control arm bushings are going to wear out and break down after a while or after prolonged use. Wear can be accelerated by certain instances, like harsh driving conditions, like offroading, environmental factors and weather, or by driving with aftermarket tires that have increased vibrations, causing an enhanced lower control arm bushings replacement cost.
Vibrating Steering Wheel
One of the main signs of a lower arm bushing that needs replacing is a vibrating steering wheel. When a control arm bushing begins to deteriorate or get damaged in your car, likely the first symptom you will notice is excessive vibrations that can cause a higher lower control arm bushings replacement cost.
Typically in your car, the vibrations will intensity when you are accelerating in your car, which can quickly become annoying due to the reduced performance and comfort. This can be due to the wobbly and unsteady wheels as a result of the excess play in the steering and frame system, causing an enhanced price of the lower arm bushings replacement cost.
Clunking and Banging Sounds
When the lower control arm bushings become too loose, worn, damaged, or break down over time, then you might start to hear a clunking sound coming from the underside of your car, caused by the lower control arm bushing getting rattled between the frame, the control arm, and causing a higher lower control arm bushings replacement cost.
This sound of the banging when the bushings become too worn can increase in intensity if you are driving consistently over rocky terrain, the terrain is rough or you do frequent hard braking that can wear down prematurely on the bushings.
The steering wheel that is not aligned correctly and either pulls to the left or the right side while you are driving can be the cause of a misalignment in the system or by worn bushings. Since the bushings hold the vehicle frame and the control arm in place, the lower control arm bushings replacement cost can be much higher due to the abnormal and excess motion in the system which can misalign the wheels. Even though the worn bushings cause misalignment, getting alignment might not work correctly if the worn bushings are the cause.
Some symptoms of misaligned wheels and the steering wheel wandering are the tires wearing abnormally and unevenly, the car drifting to one side while driving, the steering wheel not returning easily after a turn, the steering wheel being crooked and vibrating, and the squealing noise coming from your tires.
The causes of the steering wander and the misaligned wheels can cause a higher lower control arm bushings replacement cost in your vehicle. The first cause is the sudden jarring or heavy impact, which can be caused by the car hitting something, like a pothole or a road accident. The second cause is damage or worn parts caused by wear and tear, with parts becoming worn down over time or due to slack, leading to a shift in wheel alignment.
Lastly, the third cause of steering wander can be due to height modification, when the suspension has not been changed to the direct car model. If you adjust the height of your vehicle without adjusting the suspension, this can cause a wheel misalignment, and cause the lower control arm bushings replacement cost to be much higher.
Uneven Tire Wear
Make sure you check out the tire tread on the bottom of your tires in regular intervals so that you can determine if there is uneven tread wear. This problem usually indicates an issue with the tire and wheel alignment, that can be affected by the worn bushings, and cause the lower control arm bushings replacement cost to be much higher than usual.
Causes of the uneven tire tread wear in your car can vary depending on the root cause of the issue. The first cause is improper inflation pressure. Proper inflation helps to optimize the proper distribution of the vehicle load, acceleration, braking, and turning forces on the tire tread. If the tire pressure is too low or too high, the tire tread can’t handle the performance t and the variety of jobs of the car.
In addition, the second cause of the uneven tire wear could be due to out of specification tire alignment. The tire alignment refers to the vehicle’s steering and suspension components adjustments, changing the system that connects and controls the motion of the wheels. The key to having the right alignment in your car is to adjust the angles of the ires, their contact angles with the roads, and make sure the angle is in accordance with the vehicle’s manufacturer’s specifications.
If you have improper tire alignment, this can cause your tires to wear unevenly and prematurely, causing the lower control arm bushings replacement cost to be much higher than normal.
Another sign that your control arm bushings might need replacing is that your car is undergoing unstable braking. Control arm bushings are not directly involved in the braking system, but any instability or looseness in the brakes and the suspension and the steering can cause further issues with the braking and stopping of the car. When suddenly trying to break or stop your car, the front end of the car might continue to shake back and forth.
If your brakes are unstable and the system is not sturdy, then the lower control arm bushings replacement cost can be much higher due to the damage in the suspension and the braking.
Control Arm Bushings Replacement Cost
The cost to replace a control arm or the lower control arm bushing can vary depending on the specific make, model and year of your car. The cost for a new bushing in your vehicle can range between $5 and $150, while the average labor costs are more expensive, coming out between $100 and $300. This means that the average lower control arm bushings replacement cost can come to between $105 and $450 for one bushing replacement.
Usually when paying for a mechanic and autobody to have the lower control arm bushings replacement, you might need to add on the taxes and fees, and replace other suspension parts at the same time in order to keep the parts from getting damaged any further.
When replacing some of the suspension components, it is possible that you might not need an alignment. If the ride height stays the same and the bolts are left untouched, this can be up to the autobody’s professional opinion as to whether you need any additional work when you are calculating the lower control arm bushings replacement cost.
Replacing Control Arm Bushings
When you are calculating the total lower control arm bushings replacement cost, you need to determine if you want to replace all of the control arm bushings at once when one is worn, since the others will likely deteriorate or get damaged as well. Check the bushings with a visual inspection for damage, like tears, damage, or hollowing of the rubber.
Also, make sure the ball joints are visually inspected and manually checked as the bushing replacement is carried out, as some of the symptoms of a lower control arm bushings replacement can also show that there might be a failing ball joint. If this occurs, you need to figure out the replacements, as the ball joint can completely detach while driving.
When determining what control arm bushings you need to replace during the work, you need to determine which ones need to be fixed depending on how you intend to use your car. The original bushings are made of rubber and provide a comfortable driving experience that is tailored to your specific car.
Lower Control Arm Bushings Replacement Cost
To figure out how much you need to pay for this replacement cost, you will need to see the average price of the control arm bushing replacement at local shops. At your local mechanic’s shop, the average price for parts and labor comes out to around $130 and $670, with Midas being a little bit more expensive, coming to an average of $148 and $651.
Another potential shop that you can bring your vehicle to for the replacement is Midas, ranging between $148 and $651, while Mr. Tire is similar, coming in between $145 and $690. If you are looking to just buy parts for your lower control arm bushings replacement cost, then Walmart sells parts at between $45 and $490, while Amazon sells parts between $49 and $426.
Sample Control Arm Bushing Replacement Costs
To determine how much you might pay at a local shop for your car, then it is key to know how much each model might cost for a sample control arm replacement. One of the least expensive options is the Honda CR-V and the Honda Civic, coming out to between $133 and $143 at the low end, and $181 and $280 on the high end, respectively.
In the middle of the pack, the Ford Focus is between $156 and $184, while the Nissan Altima averages between $176 and $210.
At the high end of the price spectrum regarding the control arm bushing replacement cost, we have the Honda Accord. The total labor costs for this vehicle comes out to between $220 and $278, while the total parts cost is between $103 and $104, with the total average price coming out to between $323 and $382.