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Upper Control Arm and Its Replacement

Published by: Antony
Date of Publish:

Your vehicle has several control arms which serve as a means to connect the suspensions of your car to its body frame. These control arms consist of upper control arms and lower control arms. They are made up of very strong and high-quality material, and the impeccable structure makes them durable enough to control the whole car. This is because the control arms often work in a very hostile and harsh environment and have to absorb a large part of the shocks that the car receives.

While there are many different kinds of control arms, mostly based on the suspension type and the vehicle itself, this article will focus on the topic of the upper control arm. We will also talk about replacing the upper control arm and much more. Stay tuned till the end.

Upper Control Arm and What Do They Do?

The upper control arm is an extremely essential part of the car's suspension system. They are generally attached to the frame at one extremity, and on the other end, they are attached to the knuckle of the steering. The car uses the upper control arm when it runs over rocky or bumpy roads. The pivots on the bushes move upwards and down. Because of this, the vehicle maintains its balance and keeps moving forward.  

All cars do not need to essentially contain upper control arms, but most modern cars do. The upper control arms consist of elements like cars, ball joints, and bushes which control the movement of the knuckle of the steering wheel and control the amount of movement that is provided to your car. The upper control arms are made up of very high quality and strong materials like aluminum or steel, and they break in very rare cases, like when you get into an extreme accident.   

For detailed info, please refer to What does a control arm do

Uses of Upper Control Arms

Upper control arms have a variety of uses because they are so efficient. The upper control arms aid in accomplishing alignment specs. They give extra caster because of the positioning of the pivot that is being moved up. This feature accommodates you, especially when you lift your vehicle. If the caster had been missing, your vehicle would wander away.

Furthermore, unlike the stock arms, the upper control arm provides a free and broader range of movements, which ultimately means you travel more. They can also increase the level of durability and the vehicle's height. There are two kinds of upper control arms; one comes with a ball joint, and the other features a uni-ball.       

Signs And Symptoms of a Bad Upper Control Arm

 Following are some of the signs listed in points; your vehicle will make you notice if the upper control arm has gone bad or is about to break down.

  • Tires are wearing out at an uneven speed.
  • Clunking sounds like a metal-on-metal sound.
  • The vehicle cannot travel straight and keeps going in other directions.
  • Visual damage
  • Extreme vibrations in the steering and other parts of the car.

When you hear these sounds and notice these strange and wired noises take your car to the nearest mechanic's garage and get your car checked.   

What Happens If the Upper Control Arm Fails?

It is strictly advised against driving a car with faulty or bad upper control arms. This is because, in these types of situations, cars become a very unpredictable place to be. Now, because the ball joints, the bushings, and other upper control arm components are damaged, this would give rise to a misaligned suspension. First, you will hear noises while turning, driving, and stopping.

You will also get signals that your car is driving off in a right or left direction instead of keeping straight. And then, if you collide because of this over go over a large pothole, the ball joint could break, and the result could be as bad as your tire coming off of its socket.        

How To Check the Upper Control Arm?

If you sense that something is wrong with your control arms and want to check them, then take your vehicle to the garage. But make sure that the garage consists of a hoist. This requirement is essential because control arms cannot be checked when the car sits on the floor, just like some mechanics check by going under the car. To check up on the control arms, ask the mechanic to lift the car on the hoist and then rolls the front tires with your hands. If they wobble while they are going up or rolling, you should know that your upper control arm has gone bad.  

Upper Control Arm Replacement

When your upper control arm goes bad, you don't need to get the control arms of both sides changed. If one of them is creating a problem and the other is working perfectly fine, you can change the faulty one. The upper control arm of one side can cost you from about one hundred sixty dollars to a maximum of four hundred dollars. If you have the budget, you can change both of them after using them for a good amount of time.  

How Urgent Should You Get an Upper Control Arm Replacement?

If your upper control arm has just started to go bad, for example, not many noises are emitting from the front of the car, and it is hardly noticeable, then you can try your luck and drive it for short distances. You can also drive it when it emits considerable noises, only if it is really important. Otherwise, it would be best to refrain from it to keep yourself and others safe.

On the other hand, if you have an accident and after that, the car starts to make strange noises, you should immediately take your car to a good and experienced workshop that specializes in control arms. You should immediately get new upper control arms if your mechanic recommends it.

Do You Need to Get an Alignment After the Upper Control Arm Replacement?

It should be common knowledge that when you get any part change in the front of the or even if you get anything repaired, be it the suspension, the control arms, or any other thing. Be sure to get your car aligned afterward when the work is done. Although the new parts are the same in shape and function as the old ones, you must know they are new. And new parts are more close-fitting without any wear and tear as well as without any deflection. This causes the alignment to be shifted to a different position, not like it was set before. So, to get the alignment back into the proper position, you need to get it done after the new upper control arms are fitted in your vehicle.

Aftermarket Parts Vs. OEM Parts For the Replacement of The Upper Control Arm

When you decide to replace the upper control arm, you need to make an important decision of whether to get aftermarket parts or OEM parts which are also called the original equipment manufacturer parts.

If you have a tight budget or you can't get original parts from your supplier according to the model of vehicle you own, you would want to opt for the aftermarket parts. You can undoubtedly get these parts at low prices, but they come without any warranty or even a label. There is no guarantee about when they will go bad, and many don't last that long too. On the other hand, if you opt for OEM parts, they are original and can last a good amount of time with proper care. 


Although the upper control arm is a sturdy and robust component of the car's suspension and is very difficult to break, it is likely to break under harsh conditions but can break nevertheless. If there is a Collison of your car or it has been in an accident, immediately take it to the nearest car workshop to get it repaired or changed.

Ask your mechanic if only the ball joints, bearing, and bushes could be repaired instead of the whole control arm. Sometimes it can be tough to replace the upper control arms if your car is ancient. This is because old cars' suspensions and metal parts have gathered so much rust and corrosion over time. Furthermore, it can also be challenging to separate the ball joint from the steering knuckle. It is highly recommended that if you don't know much about this, do not try it at home and take your vehicle to a good, experienced, and specialized mechanic who knows what he is doing.  

Even if your car is not making strange noises, make sure to keep a check on its control arm often to avoid any sudden safety hazards caused by these parts.  

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