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What is a Faulty Lower Control Arm on a Car?

Published by: Lucas
Date of Publish:

Almost all cars have two control arms which play a vital role in controlling the car’s suspension. These are called lower control arms and are attached to the body or the car’s frame via flexible and adjustable rubber bushings, commonly known as control arm bushings.

The part played by these arm bushes combined with the lower control arm provides upward and downward swings to the front wheels as they run over potholes and depressions while keeping components like spindles, axles, and knuckles firmly in place. These arms have efficiently provided suspension support to the car for many centuries. Their shapes, sizes, and materials might have changed over time, but their function has been the same ever since they were created- to hold the car in place and keep it moving.

This article will deeply analyze how a control arm works in a car, what signs it shows when going bad, and the possible consequences of driving with a bad lower control arm. We will also discuss its replacement in a car and much more. So, stay tuned with us till the end!  

Signs Of Bad Lower Control Arm in A Car

Down Below are given some of the signs and symptoms that your car will give you to indicate that its lower control arm has gone bad:


Like most vehicle parts, when the ball joint and the flexible rubber bushes start to degrade, it shows itself in vibrations. These vibrations are all over the car but more concentrated in the steering region. This is because the lower control arm is connected to the front wheels of the car, so the driver especially catches them.    

Sometimes a driver can dismiss these vibrations as regular vibrations, especially those driving old model cars. But there is a way to distinguish these vibrations, which is to notice them under hard acceleration. This is when the vibrations will be very strong, and you will feel the steering wheel shaking excessively. This is when you won't be able to help but notice these, and when you do, get your car checked and save yourself from the trouble of a car breakdown.

Steering issues

The faulty lower control arm will first affect the steering alignment. This is because the bushes of the lower control arm have worn out, which will negatively affect the steering wheel alignment. Because of this fault, the vehicle doesn’t drive in a straight line and constantly strolls off to a right or a left direction, rendering it uneven. This necessitates the driver’s input frequently to drive the car in a straight line.   

This is considered a serious safety threat and could be very harmful, including loss of control. When an immediate change of direction is required, if it is necessary to apply emergency brakes, an unsteady steering wheel could create mayhem.  

Strange And Loud Noises  

It will not take a lot of time for the strange noises to reach your ears considering the vibrations have already started. When the flexible rubber brushes get worn out, they affect the lower control arms and loosen their ends. And because of these loose ends, you will hear squeaking, banging, knocking, snapping, and clunking of metal on metal. These sounds are not only loud and deafening, but they can disturb you to the point where you will not want to drive your car a minute longer.

Wobbly Wheels and Uneven Tire Wear    

When you have a faulty lower control arm, many things will wobble; the most significant one is the tires. Some drivers may feel the tires wobble slightly while driving, but others may not. But all the drivers feel the tires wobble when the car is lifted with the help of a jack. You will also notice considerable wobble when you spin the car tire with your hands.

Secondly, the lower control arm’s faultiness could cause the car tires to wear out unevenly. The car tires wear out naturally, but in this case, your left tire will wear out more than the right tire and vice versa. If you notice such a thing, get your car inspected.

For more, please refer to How much does control arm replacement cost, What does a rear control arm do, and What is the lower control arm in a car

Reasons For the Failure of The Car's Lower Control Arm

There could be several reasons which could render your car’s lower arm to be faulty and damaged. Some of the major reasons are listed below:

Accidental Damage

The lower control arm in a vehicle is a very fragile component and could easily get damaged. If you get into an accident, especially if your vehicle is hit by something from the front, your lower control arm will be immensely damaged. Secondly, if your car is under work and done by an auto mechanic, especially in the region where the lower control arm lies, it could damage the bushings.

Wear And Tear

The lower control arm and its bushings are put under immense stress as you drive your vehicle more and more. The bushings are under stress because they keep the control arm joined to the frame as the car drives more miles. And when they keep on running excessively every day, the bushes wear down. Because of the worn-down bushes, the car will emit irritating clunking noises.   

Rocky Terrain

If your daily route contains a lot of rocky terrain or roads with uneven and unsmooth terrain, you can be sure that your lower control arm and the attached rubber bushes are taking a lot of stress. When you drive on a rocky surface, the bushes lose from too much vibration. If the irregular motion continues, the bushes will likely knock and get damaged further.

When Should You Replace Your Car’s Lower Control Arm?

As the lower control arm is one of the most important components that connect the arm and the vehicle's frame, you should keep it in top-notch condition. A failure in the arm of the car can prove to be very critical and cause many problems. It is important that you change the lower control arm to almost a hundred thousand miles.

The lower control arm also has rubber bushings connected to its ends, and because they take a lot more stress, they deteriorate more quickly. But the good thing is that if the lower control arm is in a good position, but the bushes are worn out, you can only get the bushes changes.   

What Does It Cost to Replace Your Car’s Lower Control Arm?

The cost of the lower control arm is divided into two segments, the first payment is made solely for the material parts, and the second payment is made for the labor that put their work into fitting those materials into the vehicle. The full payment will very much depend on your car or truck. The control arms can be expensive, and their labor is also quite costly, but once they are properly fitted in, they can last very long with proper care. You wouldn't need to get them changed very often.    

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

Can You Drive with A Bad Lower Control Arm?

It is not safe for you to drive with a bad lower control arm or control arm bushes that are worn-out and shabby. This will put you, the passengers inside the car, people walking outside on the road and your car at risk. This is because the situation of the car is unpredictable, the lower control arm could break at any time, and the car could be out of control. In this situation, the car will go where ever the direction of the tires is.


The lower control arm in a car is an essential component that keeps the car together and urges it to keep moving forward. Your car will drive smoothly as long as the lower control arm and its other components, like bushes, ball joints, etc., are in good shape. But when any of these components or the control arm itself starts to deteriorate, you will notice that your drive will get unsmooth, and there will be a lot of noises and sounds emitting from the front part of your car.

If you encounter such a situation, it is advised that you immediately take your car to the nearest mechanics' workshop and get your car inspected. If your mechanic recommends you get your bushes or lower control arm changed, get a new one as soon as possible. Not getting your parts changed and driving your car in the same condition can lead to far worse problems and expensive repairs. After getting a new lower control arm, check on them often and keep them in good condition. You can also replace or repair them yourself, but it will require professional tools and a lot of energy.      

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