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How to Replace Control Arm Bushings?

Published by: Antony
Date of Publish:

Like what cartilages and tendons have to do in your skeletal system, control arm bushing cushion joints between the lower and upper control arms and your automobile’s frame. Control arm brushing is typically cylinders with polyurethane/rubber bonded to a larger cylinder of metal on the outside and a smaller cylinder of metal on the inside. These bushings are responsible for connecting the vehicle’s frame with the tires with the help of a steering knuckle. If you have an economy front-wheel car, it will likely have only lower control arms. However, if you own a larger vehicle like SUV or a truck, you will probably get both upper and lower control arm bushing connected in a double-wishbone assembly.

The significance of these control arm bushings could be understood from the fact that these are attached to the steering knuckle with the help of ball joints that help the turning movements transfer to the wheels. The most significant disadvantage of having worn-out or bad-shaped control arm bushing is that it negatively affects your vehicle’s drive, thereby increasing the vulnerabilities in your driving experience.

How Do Control Arm Bushings Work?

As mentioned earlier, the Control Arm Bushings connect the vehicle’s frame with the steering knuckle with the help of ball joints. The aim of using Control Arm Bushings is to cut down the number of vibrations produced between the frame of the car and the wheels so that the vehicle may run smoothly while the control arm is aligned. If it were not for Control Arm Bushings, these small vibrations would add substantial unpleasant disturbances for the driver.

 Furthermore, in the absence of adequately working Control Arm Bushings, there is no way to stop metal-to-metal contact in your vehicle’s wheel system, causing increased vibrations, irritating noises, driving discomfort, and above all, potential risks of dangerous problems.

Why Should You Replace Control Arms and Bushings in Pairs?

Have you ever wondered why your car’s tires wear out before their expected lifespan? Why has your vehicle been more vibrating when on bumpy roads or curvy sides? The reason is that your suspension geometry has not been maintained. And what is suspension geometry? Simply put, it is the idea to replace Control Arm Bushings in pairs.

There is quite an emphasis on replacing both Control Arm Bushings together because many car owners are of the view that they need only to replace the Control Arm Bushing that sounds more vibrating or is visibly more worn out. However, this is not how it works. Like you will never fill your tank halfway because you need to go around the block, replacing Control Arm Bushings always comes in pairs.  

  • The first reason is that both Control Arm Bushings are made of the same rubber/kryptonite. Their average lifespan before they begin to deteriorate/split/crack is the same. That is why it is safe to be assumed equally worn out and torn no matter what their physical attributes suggest. Replacing both Control Arm Bushings will ultimately ensure your vehicle gets the correct suspension geometry to ideally assist the control arms.    
  • The second reason why you should always replace your Control Arm Bushings in pairs is because of their ball joints. Since ball joints cannot be replaced separately, you will always need to replace the entire control arms. Your vehicle’s alignment has a lot to do with these ball joints. So, you pay special attention to the signs of cracks/rotting and grease leakage in the ball joints before opting to replace control arms.

For detailed info about the cost of replacement, please refer to How much does control arm replacement cost

How to Replace Control Arm Bushings?

So, when you have decided to replace your Control Arm Bushings, you will need to follow these simple steps to get done with the perfect replacement job. All of this starts by putting the jacks under your car, removing the wheel, and jacking up the vehicle on jack stands. Make sure to wear gloves and eye protection to encounter unforeseen events:

1. Release the Ball Joint

The first step is to release the ball joints. You will require a large wrench 20m-24mm to loosen the ball joint nut. Make sure the cotter pin has already been removed before this. You will now need a hammer to strike the spindle to reduce the spit. You could do the same by hitting the control arm bulkhead, and the result would be the same. If you have decided to do the job via live spring suspension, use hydraulic jacks to hold the lower control arm and slowly lower it after the ball joint is released.  

2. Remove the Sway Bar Link

The next step in replacing the Control Arm Bushings is removing the sway bar link. Since the sway bar is connected to the control arm with the help of the sway bar link, you will have to use a medium wrench of 14mm-15mm to remove the net. If the connection compromises the mini taper fit, repeat the method from the first step to loosen up the ball joints. If you are thinking about the sway bar link all of this while, you can keep it away from your job by grasping the sway bar link and removing it from the lower arm mount.

3. Remove the Control Mounting Bolts

The third step is to remove the control mounting bolts. You will require a wrench 19mm-22mm or a socket to loosen these control arm mounting bolts, which could be vertical or horizontal. At the same time, some bolts could easily be removed by simply rotating the wrench. Others have a nut on the backside. For these types of bolts, you will require an additional twist. Also, you will have to ensure that your wrench is held securely so you can loosen these tight bolts without rounding. A pro tip here is to use a universal joint and socket to remove the rear control arm bolt, and mind it; this one is easier than the last one. Also, the control arm will be loose when the bolts are removed, so you must hold onto it with tight hands.  

4. Remove the Lower Control Arm

Usually, the control arm will come loose when you have removed the bolts and requires it to be grasped with solid hands. However, if the control arm is still in the mount, you must get it firmly and pull it out. Please keep moving the arm up and down to easily remove it from the frame mounts. This will follow replacing the bushings.

5. Replace the Bushings

Now, this is the technical part. Beforehand, it would be best if you matched the bushings with old bashing in the control arm. If both are identical matches, you are good to go. You will require a press to remove the old bashing from the control arm and replace it with the new one. It is wise to mark the orientation to install the bushings correctly.

Failure to install the bushings properly will lead them to tear up prematurely. You will also require a hydraulic press to lower the control arm and do all this. Lubrication must not be applied during the installation process as it can lead to bushings slipping away from their place. Once one Control Arm Bushing installation is complete, repeat the process for the opponent one.

6. Reinstall the Lower Control Arm

The last step of the process is reinstalling the lower control arm back in its place. You will now have to grasp the new control arm tight while wedging the bushing into the frame mounts. Repeat the up and down motion you did to take out the control arm to install it back in place. Bolts must be aligned with the holes, and a screwdriver will do the rest to install them perfectly in their home. Once you have successfully replaced your Control Arm Bushings, you can lower the car off the jack stands. Take a few test drives to align the car and see if the vehicle is still making those noises again.  


The Control Arm Bushings connect the wheels with the steering knuckles. These are responsible for the turning of spins, and therefore you must keep a check on them before they are completely worn out and split out. The best practice for replacing these Control Arm Bushings is in pairs. It is because no matter how much visual damage you look for, you can never be entirely sure of the wear and tear of the rubber that happens inside.

Also, you must not ignore ball joints while replacing your Control Arm Bushings and must also look for the symptoms of failure in the ball joints. Lastly, choose the type of Control Arm Bushings depending upon your intensity of use, as certain Control Arm Bushing materials can last longer than others. Nonetheless, looking after your Control Arm Bushings and replacing them in pairs in time will allow you to have a comfortable and aligned driving experience on the road.

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