Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Control Arm Assembly

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. 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 wear out and can cause all sorts of problems. Usually a problematic control arm assembly will produce a few 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 that may be 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 component, as they are the component that links 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, such as one from YourMechanic. They will be able to replace your control arm assembly if required.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Still not sure about your car's issue?
Diagnose your car
What kind of issue are you experiencing?
Brakes are squeaking
Car is not starting
Car is overheating
Car is shaking (vibrating)
Fluids are leaking
Heating and A/C
Smoke or steam is coming out of the car
Warning light is on
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

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

More related articles

Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance...
Auto Safety Tips
Driving is more than a way to get from point A to point B. Owning and driving a car can also be a highly enjoyable experience. Whether a person is driving...


Related questions

Q: Steering wheel warning light coming up

The problem may be the vehicle security system preventing the wheel from turning. The issue may be the ignition switch, ignition lock, steering lock, steering column, or a security malfunction. I recommend having a technician, such as one from YourMechanic,...

Q: Car drifts when driving.

Hi, it sounds like you may have something worn out in the front end. It could be a ball joint control arm, or tie-rod end. If it was the steering box (rack and pinion) you may have a lot of...

Q: Steering wheel does not center

The problem to me sounds like you have worn out bushings that hold the power steering rack and pinion assembly. This is why your steering wheel gets off center in the direction of the turn. Have the steering inspected and...