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What Is the Lower Control Arm in A Car?

Published by: Antony
Date of Publish:

Shock absorbers, springs, and links in the undercarriage of a vehicle act as a connection between it and its wheels, forming the vehicle's suspension. Its primary function is to support the vehicle's weight and govern its ride, handling, and overall dynamics while in motion. However, what is a control arm on an automobile used for? In a suspension system, control arms are a key component that directly links the front wheel assemblies and a vehicle's chassis. It is possible to steer an automobile while simultaneously moving the wheels up and down with the road surface, thanks to the control arms. Control arms, despite their simple look, play an important part in a vehicle's overall stability and drivability.

The Role of the Control Arm

The function of a control arm is rather easy. It does this by connecting the steering knuckle to the frame and letting the chassis and the wheels move in tandem when the vehicle is in motion. Additionally, it serves to stabilize the vehicle. In the end, control arms assist, accomplish, and coordinate between the steering and suspension systems, which dampens the ride and allows the driver to manage the vehicle.

The swiveling ball joint of the control arm acts as the pivot point for the steering system, which enables the vehicle to be turned in either direction while it travels forward or backward. The hinge joint on the frame side of the control arms ensures that the wheels remain in touch with the ground, regardless of whether the vehicle is moving over smooth pavement or over bumps and potholes in the road. The control arm on a vehicle must have mobility for the driver to manage the vehicle in a manner that is both safe and effective when driving on public roads.

Is There Any Difference Between Lower And Upper Control Arms?

As the name suggests, both lower and upper arms have functions according to their positions. A lower control arm controls and manages the balance of the lower part of the front wheel. An upper control arm controls the upper area of the front tire. This is the only difference between the arms apart from their shape and sizes. Their functions otherwise are the same.

Another similarity is that the effects after getting damaged are the same. Both of them will cause the balance of the car to disrupt, one from the lower end of the front wheel and the other from the upper end.

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

Can A Lower Control Arm Stop Working?

Yes, the lower arm can stop working. The main reason behind this is wear and tear. When you use your car too much, you cause stress on all parts. Especially the lower control arm. Whenever you drive, the arm is under pressure.

The more you stress it, the more it damages. When the miles have piled into a heap, and the arm cannot take it anymore, you have a damaged lower control arm.

Another reason behind this could be a manual error. It could be possible that the mechanic damages the control arm when working. This will ultimately damage your arm more lightly than what wear and tear do to it. However, this is fixable.

How To Know If Your Control Arm Has Stopped Working?

Now that you know what a control arm is let's see how to know when it stops working. You will encounter several symptoms when your car's lower control arm stops working.

If you spot any of these symptoms in your car, take it to a mechanic. Without any further ado, let’s get on with some car investigation!

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

1. You Won’t Be Able to Steer Well

If it wasn’t obvious enough already, you won’t be able to drive well once the lower control arm is damaged. The car will not steer well since the linkage connecting the front wheels, and the lower control arm will be broken.

You might have problems with your car's alignment and resistance when driving because of this reason. And this might result in further problems like excessive wear of all car parts due to the resistance and damaged tires.

So now you know that your car isn't working well whenever you see this sign, and you should look for a mechanic or address the problem yourself.

2. You Won’t Be Able to Align Your Car Well

This is very similar to the point stated above. When you cannot steer well, you cannot align your car well either.

This will cause your car to wander far left or far right than where you intend to go when going over a bump on the road. This is especially unsafe when driving over rocky or rough roads. This is also the reason behind most road accidents. If you can't align your car perfectly, get to a mechanic as soon as possible.

3. You Will Feel the Car Vibrating Consistently

When you feel your car vibrating consistently, it could very well be a symptom of a bad lower control arm. But this is not a major indicator. It is exactly like a fever. A symptom of many problems but not a consistent one.

When your car absorbs energy, it starts to wear out. The link between the suspension and the frame gets damaged by being under so much pressure. This weakens the overall system of the car. So, beware of excessive vibrations.

4. Tires Will Get Worn Out Unevenly

This is directly linked to alignment issues. You have trouble with your tires when your car cannot align well. Think about this, your car's tires aren't receiving the proper functioning they need from the control arms. One of the sides is receiving proper care while the other isn't receiving any. Of course, this will result in excessive wear and improper alignment. This will result in the tires getting worn out much more quickly than they should.

According to this, if you see your tires getting worn out quickly, along with any other symptoms on the list, it is probably a case of a bad arm.

5. Squeaking and Clunking Noises When Going Over Bumps

Lastly, a major concern is the noises that arise when driving over harsh terrains. This is also one of the earliest signs. You will notice a squeaking, clunking, or popping noise when you go over bumpy roads. Similar noises will also be heard when you reduce the speed of your vehicle or increase it all of a sudden.

If you spot any of these symptoms, it is better to get them checked as soon as possible. Driving with a bad lower control arm is dangerous, and we do not recommend this to anyone. If your car does not have a bad control arm but has these symptoms, your mechanic will probably identify whatever problem your car is facing.

Solutions For a Failed Lower Control Arm

Now that you know the symptoms that tell you your car is damaged, it is time to work out some solutions to treat a damaged lower control arm.

1. Replace the Damaged Lower Control Arm

First of all, you need to replace the damaged control arm. It is great if you know how to do it yourself. If not, plenty of videos all over the internet tell you how to replace a damaged control arm. You do not need to be a professional to replace a damaged control arm.

All you need is a new control arm, all the essential tools, a good video to guide you, and maybe an extra pair of hands to help you out. With all these resources, changing a damaged lower control arm is child’s play!

2. Seek Help From A Professional

If you cannot change the arm, the next step is to look for a mechanic. It would be better to check your car by a mechanic first to ensure the symptoms align. Often, the symptoms of a damaged control arm are similar to other car problems like damaged alignment.

So, get your car to a trusted mechanic as soon as possible and relax while they fix your car up.

3. Do Not Drive at All for A While

Since it is always better to be safe than sorry, you should quit driving altogether for a while. This is only if you do not know how to change a bad arm yourself, or you cannot find a good mechanic, or cannot visit one for whatever reasons.

Since driving with a damaged or broken lower control arm poses several risks, giving your car the rest it needs is good. As for the time being, you can either carpool or use public transport. It will be lighter on your pocket and also give you an environmental change!


So here is the complete guide as to what a lower control arm in a car is, how it works, the symptoms if it gets damaged, and how to look for a solution. All of this will help you identify the important parts of your car. This will also help you get help as soon as possible if you encounter a problem.

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