Every 13 minutes, a car accident happens in the United States. This is a constant reminder of just how important it is to have a safe car.
A key component in ensuring a vehicle’s safety is the control arm in the suspension system. It’s responsible for maintaining both stability and safety while driving. But what exactly does a control arm do in a vehicle, and why is it so essential for your vehicle’s performance?
In this article, we’ll examine control arms, how they function, their impact on your driving experience, and how to choose quality parts for a safe and smooth ride.
What is a Control Arm on Vehicles?
A control arm, an essential component in a car’s suspension system, functions like a bridge, connecting the chassis to the wheel hub. Its main job is to control the wheels to move appropriately and smoothly over bumpy, uneven roads and absorb part of shocks and vibration.
It’s also commonly called the A-arm, as its shape resembles the letter ‘A’. The two ends of this ‘A’ latch onto the car frame, while the apex connects to the knuckle (wheel carrier), allowing for controlled wheel movement.
The number of control arms in a vehicle varies depending on what type of suspension systems the car employs. The most common suspension system is MacPherson Strut, which is one of the most inexpensive suspension systems nowadays. It typically has one lower control arm on each wheel. In the McPherson strut suspension system, the control arm is also called lower control arm although it doesn’t have an upper control arm.
Other suspension systems like Double Wishbone, vehicles have both an upper and lower control arm on wheels. The pair work in parallel to manage the motion of the wheels.
Control Arm Components Explained
The control arm consists of three main components that work together to provide a comfortable drive:
- Control Arm
The control arm is the main body of the vehicle’s suspension system. This component, made from stamped steel, aluminum, or cast iron, forms a link between the chassis, the wheel hub, and the axle. Its purpose is to regulate the wheels’ movement in relation to the vehicle’s body, ensuring stability and controlled movement of the suspension system, especially when driving over bumps or potholes.
- Ball Joints
Ball joints are situated between the control arm and the steering knuckle and play an important role in vehicle steering. Their spherical construction allows for 360-degree rotation, enabling vehicles to make turns and ensuring smooth steering. The ball joint core facilitates steering with its 360 structure. Additionally, a rubber dust cover protects the delicate core and the lubricant inside from road dirt, while a snap ring secures the dust cover.
Learn more about Automotive Ball Joint: Automotive Ball Joint: Everything You Need to Know About
Bushings, locked onto the frame, are responsible for allowing the control arm to swing up and down when encountering bumps or potholes. Made from a combination of materials, the outer layer of the bushing is iron, the middle layer is rubber, and the inner layer is an iron tube. Bushings play a part in absorbing vibrations and shocks, thereby reducing metal-on-metal contact and enhancing the life expectancy of the entire chassis.
Symptoms of Failing Control Arm
The average lifespan of a control arm depends on the driver’s habits, road conditions, and the quality of the part itself. Generally, control arms can last anywhere from 60,000 to 80,000 miles.
However, harsh driving conditions, such as frequent driving on uneven or unpaved roads, can accelerate wear or exacerbate underlying problems. If you start noticing any of the symptoms below, it’s likely time for an inspection or to replace your control arm in the vehicle.
One of the tell-tale signs of a failing control arm is feeling unusual vibrations in the steering wheel. These vibrations are often caused by worn-out bushings or ball joints in the control arm, which can no longer absorb vibrations effectively.
- Metal Friction Sounds
Another common symptom is the distinct metal-on-metal sound, especially when driving over bumps or making turns. This sound usually suggests that the bushings or ball joints are no longer doing their job, causing the metal components to rub against each other.
- Unstable Steering
Unstable or loose steering is especially noticeable at high speeds, where drivers may feel the vehicle is unstable or lack control in steering. This issue is often a result of overused ball joints or bushings, which influence the vehicle’s handling.
Learn more about the SOLUTIONs in this article: X Symptoms of Bad Control Arm: Causes, Prevention & Solutions
- Uneven Tire Wear
Uneven wear on your tires can also indicate an issue with the control arm. When the control arm begins to fail, it can cause the vehicle to become misaligned, resulting in uneven tire wear. This symptom not only affects your driving experience but can also shorten the lifespan of your tires.
The Importance of Regular Maintenance
Every part of a motor vehicle needs to work properly to operate smoothly. Regular maintenance checks with car technicians, such as inspecting the control arm for any signs of wear or damage, can help you catch these issues early and prevent more serious problems down the road. Furthermore, conducting regular maintenance inspections can protect you from financial liability if these problems are uncovered during a car accident.
The Quality Control Arm from TGQ
The quality of the control arm in a vehicle critically impacts safety and performance. Selecting the right control arm gives drivers peace of mind knowing they can rely on consistent stability and comfort every ride.
With extensive experience in manufacturing control arms, Taiwan Golden Quality Motor Technology Co (TGQ) has become a tier-one OEM supplier for chassis parts to major international automobile manufacturers. Our expertise lies in creating durable and high-quality control arms that cater to any vehicle needs. Choose from an extensive product line that showcases our commitment to technological innovation and customer satisfaction.
Moreover, through our customization services, clients can tailor control arms to specific requirements. We provide an end-to-end service, involving in-depth discussion, evaluation, and production, to ensure a precise fit and optimal performance for every client.
For tailored solutions and a personalized quotation, contact TGQ now.