Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Control Arm Assembly

A control arm, commonly referred to as an A-arm, is a suspension component found on virtually all road-going passenger vehicles. It is a suspension link that connects the wheel hub and steering knuckles to the chassis — meaning the underside of the car. They are equipped with bushings and ball joints that allow it to flex and move according to road conditions and steering input from the driver. Over time, the bushings or ball joints on the control arm can wear out and cause all sorts of problems. Usually, a problematic control arm assembly will produce any of the following 3 symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential problem that should be serviced.

1. Steering Wheel Vibration

One of the first symptoms commonly associated with bad control arms is steering wheel vibrations. If the bushings or ball joints in the control arm become excessively worn it can cause wheel shimmy, which may cause vibrations felt in the wheel. The vibrations may increase as you accelerate and smoothen out once you are traveling at speed.

2. Steering Wandering

Another symptom commonly associated with bad or failing control arm assembly is steering wandering. Excessively worn ball joints or bushings can cause the vehicle’s steering alignment to shift, which may cause the steering to pull to the left or right when traveling down the road. This will require a constant correction from the driver in order to steer the vehicle straight.

3. Clunking Noises

Clunking noises are another symptom of possible problems with the control arms on a vehicle. If the bushings or ball joints develop excessive play or looseness, this can cause them to knock during takeoff, or when the vehicle is traveling over rough terrain. The clunking sound will continuously get louder as the component wears or until it eventually breaks.

The control arms on a vehicle are very important suspension components, as they are they link the spindle, hubs, and therefore wheel to the vehicle’s chassis. When they become worn it can cause problems for the vehicle that may compromise handling, comfort, and safety. For this reason, if you suspect that your vehicle’s control arms may be bad or worn, have the vehicle’s suspension inspected by a professional technician. They will be able to replace your control arm assembly if required.


Next Step

Schedule Suspension Inspection

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Suspension Inspection. Once the problem has been diagnosed, you will be provided with an upfront quote for the recommended fix and receive $20.00 off as a credit towards the repair. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Recent Suspension Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating

(150,066)

Rating Summary
140,528
5,206
1,056
753
2,523
140,528
5,206
1,056
753
2,523

Alfred

13 years of experience
428 reviews
Alfred
13 years of experience
Nissan Frontier - 105,000 Miles Maintenance Service - Oakland, California
Very friendly professional good person.
Nissan Maxima - Car Battery Replacement - San Francisco, California
Friendly, efficient, and effective. Would definitely call again. Thanks!

Pardeep

21 years of experience
865 reviews
Pardeep
21 years of experience
Ford Edge - Ignition Coil Replacement - Newark, California
First time using YourMechanic, I will for sure be using again and recommending! Fast, easy and convienent!
Mercedes-Benz C300 - Spark Plugs - Mountain View, California
Pardeep is a great and mechanic and very fast and professional!

Clifton

30 years of experience
289 reviews
Clifton
30 years of experience
Ford Mustang - Suspension - West Palm Beach, Florida
Clifton did a good job finding the source of this loud clicking /popping sound I had in my front end suspension. I could've ended up buying unnecessary parts thinking it was something else .

Dameron

17 years of experience
88 reviews
Dameron
17 years of experience
Mercedes-Benz GL450 - Suspension Inspection - Indianapolis, Indiana
He's so professional

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Related articles

How Often Should the Steering System Be Inspected?
It’s It’s usually better to fix an automotive problem early than to wait until it causes more damage or even an accident. And that general principle applies to the steering system. Luckily, periodic inspection and maintenance of the steering system...
How to Replace a Steering Damper
Steering dampers, also known as steering stabilizers or spirit dampers, prevent movement from traveling to the steering wheel.
How Do Modern Cars Steer?
Most Most people who have been inside of a car are familiar with the steering wheel and what it is used for. Most people who have been outside of a car are familiar with the front wheels and the fact...

Related questions

Second opinion on a front lower control arm issue.

Hi there. I seriously doubt that both or either lower control arm is broken; if that was the case you wouldn't have been able to drive your vehicle to another shop for a second opinion. My best guess would be...

Do universal steering rack boots work

If you have broken steering rack and pinion side boots and cannot find replacements then aftermarket universal boots can be tried. This would be better than no boots at all. They are generic and there is a possibility they may...

Steering wheel bolt loose.

The vehicle shows it has a recall from the manufacturer for the tie rod ends coming loose or failing and driver may loose control. The recall number is 06V155000. My recommendation is to not drive the vehicle and contact your...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com