Control Arms and Control Arm Bushings: Everything You Need to Know

Control Arms and Control Arm Bushings: Everything You Need to Know

Troy Hammond
6 minute read

Control arms and control arm bushings may not be well-known components in your vehicle, but they play a crucial role in its suspension system. In this blog, we will discuss what control arms and control arm bushings are, how to spot signs of wear and when to replace them, and the options available for control arm replacements.

When it comes to replacing these components, you have a choice between repair and performance parts. To help you get a better idea of what these components are, what they do, and the difference between repair vs. performance parts, we’ve written this explainer:

What Are Control Arms?

Control arms are sturdy metal components that connect your car's frame to the wheel hubs. Shaped like wishbones, these components bear significant weight and must be made with strong materials to withstand the forces exerted on them. If control arms wear out or fail, they can cause damage to your vehicle and make it unsafe to drive.

What Are Control Arm Bushings?

Control arm bushings are hard rubber bumpers that cushion the connection between control arms and other components. As the control arms move, the bushings prevent them from rubbing against other parts and creating heat friction that can lead to rapid wear. While small, these bushings absorb shocks from the road and can wear out over time.

Signs You Need to Replace Control Arms or Bushings

It's essential to recognize early warning signs of control arm and control arm bushing issues to prevent more significant problems. Look out for the following indicators:

  • Vibrations while driving. If you feel vibrations while driving on smooth surfaces, it could be a sign of control arm or control arm bushing issues.
  • Clunking noises. Unusual clunking noises near a wheel can indicate a problem with the control arms.
  • Uneven tire wear. If your tires wear out unevenly, it could be due to loose or broken control arms or bushings.
  • Car pulling to one side. While many assume this is an alignment issue, it can also be a symptom of control arm or control arm bushing failures.
  • Visual damage. Regularly inspect your control arms and bushings for signs of wear, such as cracks, looseness, or misalignment. If you notice any damage, it may be time for a replacement.

OEM vs. Performance Control Arms and Bushings

When it comes to replacing control arms and bushings, there are two main options: OEM (repair) parts and performance parts. Understanding the differences can help you make the right choice for your vehicle:

OEM Control Arms and Bushings

OEM parts, also known as repair parts, are designed to match the specifications of the original components. However, because other suspension components may have worn down by the time control arms need replacement, even OEM parts can wear out faster than the original ones.

Performance Control Arms and Bushings

Performance parts, also called upgrade parts, typically exceed manufacturer specifications. These parts are developed after the vehicle has been on the market, allowing manufacturers to identify and improve flaws in the original design. Performance control arms may address issues such as weight-bearing angles to enhance overall performance.

Choosing Between OEM and Performance

The choice between OEM and performance control arms and bushings depends on your budget and performance expectations. While repair parts may save you money initially, performance parts tend to last longer and can improve suspension performance.

There are many factors to consider when deciding between repair vs. performance parts.

Pros and Cons of OEM Control Arms and Bushings


  • Less expensive
  • Exact match with OEM part
  • Made to manufacturer’s specifications


    • May have the same design flaws that caused the original to wear down or break
    • Could be made with inferior materials to save costs
    • Inferior performance to upgrade parts

    Pros and Cons of Performance Control Arms and Bushings


    • Often made with superior materials
    • May improve upon OEM design
    • Exceeds manufacturer’s standards
    • Superior suspension performance


    • Can be more expensive (but not always)
    • May require different hardware like nuts and bolts
    • Dealership may not be willing to install them

    Why Control Arms Wear Out

    Control arms are prone to wear due to various factors:

    1. Moving parts: Continuous movement causes friction, leading to eventual wear and tear.

    2. Materials: Car manufacturers often use cheaper materials for small components like control arms, compromising their durability.

    3. Driving style: Aggressive driving behaviors, frequent accelerations, and hard stops put additional stress on suspension components, including control arms.

    4. Suspension faults: A faulty suspension system puts extra strain on control arms, leading to premature failure.

    Why Control Arm Replacements Are Expensive

    Dealerships typically use Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) components for repairs, which are the same as the original parts on your vehicle. While OEM parts are reliable, they are often the most expensive option. Additionally, reinstalling the same component that failed may not be the best long-term solution.

    While car manufacturers have thousands of components to worry about, Strutmasters focus has always been suspensions. We’ve seen thousands of busted control arms and other suspension problems over the years. By now, we know exactly where and how things go wrong. That knowledge allows us to make our products more robust and reliable without having to worry about making hundreds of other components too.

    A Better Control Arm Replacement Option: Why Choose Strutmasters?

    Fortunately, you have alternatives to dealership repairs. Strutmasters, a leading suspension replacement provider, offers its line of control arm replacements. Here's what sets us apart:

    1. High-quality materials: Strutmasters control arms are made with high-grade steel for durability and longevity.

    2. American manufacturing: These control arm replacements are produced in the USA under strict quality assurance standards.

    3. Precision engineering: Strutmasters' engineers meticulously match the control arms to specific vehicle specifications, ensuring a perfect fit every time.

    Strutmasters is far from the only manufacturer of control arm replacements, but there are few names more trusted in the suspension industry. Since 1999, Strutmasters has been an industry leader in suspension replacement kits and components. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has given Strutmasters an accredited A+ rating, its highest possible certification, due to an outstanding combination of high-quality products and customer service.

    Don’t Wait To Replace Your Control Arms

    Remember: the longer you wait for a control arm replacement, the more at risk you are and the more you’ll have to pay for repairs down the line. Order your control arm replacements online or by phone.

    If you still have questions or need help finding the right replacement for you, just call us at 866-610-9848. One of our Suspension Experts would be happy to walk you through the ins and outs of any components. Once you’re ready, they can also help you find exactly the right control arms and control arm bushings for your vehicle.

    « Back to Blog

    Have a Question? Call (866) 597-2397 to Speak to a Suspension Expert