Are you experiencing symptoms of a bad Control Arm? Would you like to know how much control arm replacement cost?
A good control arm is a part of the vehicle that enhances your vehicle’s performance, and its replacement is not very expensive.
Are you considering a control arm replacement? This article presents signs of a faulty control arm, factors that affect price, how to fix the control arm, tools needed, and other key things that you need to know about the control arm.
Let’s get started!
How Much Does Control Arm Replacement Cost?
On average, control arm replacement cost between $500 and $750. This depends on the model and make of your vehicle, and this price may vary slightly with respect to the front or rear control arm.
In addition, consideration is made as regards how old the car is. A good example is that some modern cars use MacPherson Strut or MacPherson suspension system, meaning that the control arm of your car is low.
Other times, your car may have a Short Long Arms suspension or a double wishbone. This is usually seen in particular cars because it is more expensive to service and requires more time.
If you need to change the lower and upper control arms, such control arms will cost more. However, some modern cars do not use it.
For instance, if you use a (3rd)third to (8th)eighth generation Mazda6, Honda Accord, or Peugeot 401, they have the SLA suspension. Again, you can find out by taking a look under the car.
Normally you will spend between $40 to $150 to change the lower control arms.
Although you can spend over $300 to change the BMW control arm.
Factors Affecting Price of Control Arm Replacement
As earlier mentioned, factors like geographical location, labor, model, and make of the car all affect the price of replacing the control arm.
Many cars use the MacPherson suspension (possessing little modifications), makings it easy to interchange control arms between cars. Therefore, if you are buying a rear or front control arm, it will not matter. First, because they are interchangeable, and secondly, it is not expensive because of the mass production.
More expenses are made for cars that use custom control arms. However, we have some advantages, such as smoother suspension. Unfortunately, this makes the parts more expensive.
Hence, the control arms of a Toyota can start at $15.49, whereas Chevy is an estimated $100 and BMW over $250. That is why the car’s model and make are considered.
One can decide to purchase upgraded vehicle control arms.
It has been realized that suspension upgrades are amongst the best ways to enhance your car’s steering and driving performance.
Although, better or upgraded control arms are more expensive. A particular control arm that suits a car can cost between $20 to $700.
Usually, the garage plus mechanic fee is paid hourly to replace the control arm.
The installation will cost an estimated $100 other times; it will be slightly more.
Most times, labor is more expensive than replacing the control arms. So be ready to pay between $100 to $250 for labor fees.
Remember, mechanics, charge differently in various regions. Therefore, the region you are in will also depend.
Consider the fees charged by your local mechanic when working out the possible expenses.
Also Read: Brake Pad Replacement Cost
What Is The Control Arm?
The part of your car links the suspension to a car’s frame. A control arm also links your steering knuckle responsible for holding the car’s front wheel to one of the car’s frames or body. It has a high value because it keeps the wheels of a car steadily fixed to the entire car.
As a vehicle travels on the road, the suspension moves up and down; this is why it is important for your control arm to permit the movement to happen. This can be attained by using the control arm bushings that are flexible and built of rubber. Using ball joints, control arms are linked to your steering knuckles allowing your wheels to rotate.
In most vehicles, the control arm is normally either shaped as a letter L or A, then two(2) ends are linked to a chassis. However, others will possess a dissimilar shape of one shaft with the ball joint at a particular end; then, the rubber bushing will be at the other.
A suspension spring will be inserted in the middle for cars that own two (2) control arms for each wheel.
Signs of a Bad Control Arm
You can easily notice when the control arm becomes faulty. Most times, it starts making noise, the car vibrates excessively, and your steering starts having an issue.
There are four very common symptoms/signs of a faulty control arm, and we will discuss them going further.
1. Unusual noise while starting up or steering vehicle
If your car is clunking, popping, or squealing during the first startup or steer of your car, the control arm is possibly faulty.
Especially when you try to speed, slow down, etc., and it makes a popping noise.
Also, you can shake the tire and listen to the clunking noise.
The noises might be from numerous issues like worn bushings, ball joints, etc. Take your car to a mechanic if you cannot discover the reason for the noise.
2. Irregular Tire Wear
When you notice uneven wear in your tires, it might mean a suspension issue, and you need to hand your car in for an alignment.
Uneven tears can result from a faulty control arm, especially if other symptoms appear.
3. Wobbling Steering
It is considered the most dangerous and common sign of a faulty control arm. When your car goes over bumps, it either veers to its right or left.
If this is added with excessive vibration, driving becomes very hard.
4. Vibration Issues
Excessive vibration while speeding up, driving, or slowing down a car can be a faulty control arm.
As explained in “uneven tear,” the vibration might relate to the suspension. You will then have to physically examine your car to know if it has a faulty control arm.
What is the Process for Replacement?
You will need a sound jack or lift; afterward you have to service the car and get its suspension balanced.
Tools that you will need:
- Rubber Mallet or Tie Rod Remover Tool
- Wrench set
- A replacement control arm that matches the car
- Ratchet and Socket Set
- Towels or paper towels
Steps to Changing the Lower Control Arm
There are eleven steps to be taken
- Your car should be parked on a level and flat surface.
- Jack(lift) up the vehicle on the part that is having an issue or clunking
- Bring out the tire that is on the faulty side.
- From its tie rod arm, remove the nut. Based on the model or make of your car, it is a ½ inch or 38mm. The breaker bar can become handy when the nut becomes difficult to remove.
- Bring out the tie rod using a tie rod puller. You can also use a rubber mallet to hit(knock) under the nut and loosen the tie rod. Then remove it by pulling.
- The ball joint is then loosened by placing a wrench on it. Then knock off the ball joint by using a fork and hammer.
- Unbolt the front of your control arm
- Unbolt the back of your control arm
- Keep wriggling the assembly of your control arm till it falls out.
- Then, place your new control arm into space. Change all the bolts; your ball joint is included.
- Change the wheel and tie the rod arm.
Examine your wheel to know if it makes noises or clunks. In the parking lot, take a test drive to examine the suspension.
There is a high chance that you need to get your suspension re-balanced.
Pros of control arm replacement
The obvious advantages are that you will avoid damage to all other parts of the car and avoid road hazards (accidents). Also, changing your control arm extends the lifespan of your car and preserves it.
The assembly’s main component stabilizes your front wheels to your vehicle and is connected to the suspension and steering.
Changing the control arms of your car helps maintain how your car works and enhances performance. Most times, it also adds to a reduction in the use of fuel.
The control arms of a car are open to tear and wear, just like other parts of the car. Therefore, regular maintenance and examination are needed to avoid wear and tear or other major damage.
Try to examine your control arm once a year and repair any identified damage or wear.
Can I Drive with a Bad Control Arm?
You can, but you should not. If it is to drive it to your garage, fine, but not for a long distance or using it for a long time in that state.
The problem worsens when you keep driving with a faulty control arm. After that, veering problems can get worse and stronger.
If your control arm breaks down completely, your car will be stuck. You are advised to repair the problem immediately.
Can I Replace the Control Arm Myself?
Changing a control arm is the intermediate to advanced level repair procedure. From a technical perspective, it is not a difficult procedure. However, it requires a little experience and expertise to be carried out successfully.
You need to possess the tools mentioned above and suitable space; if not, let a professional handle it.
Can I replace only one control arm?
Of course, but it is best not to.
Most times, the thing that makes a control arm fail affects the other. Examples are hitting bumps, driving on rough roads, or car accidents.
Issues like these affect the two control arms. It is best you replace both to avoid repeating the same in the future. You will not have to spend extra money twice on the garage fee.
Also Read: Head Gasket Replacement Cost
Frequently Asked Questions – Control Arm Replacement Cost
Can you drive with a broken control arm?
You can, but you should not.
How long can I drive with the damaged control arm?
It can serve for less than one week or a week, but you should fix it immediately when you realize the problem using the above methods before your suspension is damaged.
Is it worth replacing control arms?
The prevalent reason for replacing the control arm is to enhance wheel travel as a component of the suspension lift. In addition, the new control arm also increases the durability of the said arm.
Is it OK to replace only one control arm?
You are not mandated to replace the two of them if it is only one that is faulty. However, in most cases, when a particular arm is bad, the other arm will possibly need to be changed soon. This is why it is reasonable to change the control arm of the two sides at a particular time.
How serious is a control arm on a car?
The control arm appears simple, but they play a prominent role in a car’s general drivability and stability. The control arm allows the driver of a car to guide the wheels and also steer the car.
What causes the control arm to break?
Driving through bumps or large portholes. Bushings can become worn out as a result of age. Wear from England, portholes and frequent movements can make them break.
Do I need an alignment after replacing the control arms?
If one is only changing the upper arm, one should only worry about your alignments if the old arm has failed badly.
What happens if you don’t replace control arms?
The parts of your suspension can become misaligned. The handling and steering may start malfunctioning. You will usually notice the weird sound first, driving over bumps, turning, or stopping.
How much does labor cost to control arms?
You will spend between $150-$200 if you take your car to a mechanic for fixing your control arm. Then you will spend $400 to $550 to buy a new control arm.
How long does a control arm last?
The control arm assembly of a car wears out between 90,000 – 100,000 miles. You will hasten how fast it becomes worn out when a car accident or running over big portholes.
How many control arms are on a car?
It is between two(2) and four (4) control arms. This depends on the car’s suspension. Most modern vehicles only possess control arms in their front wheel suspension. However, some vehicles have theirs in the rear axle; an example of such a vehicle is a truck.