Top Picks For Control Arm With Ball Joint Related Parts
Recommended Control Arm With Ball Joint Related Parts
Control arms, bushings, and ball joints are critical components of the suspension system of your vehicle. Control arms are also known as A-arms and they form the connection between the suspension and the chassis of the vehicle. The control arm and ball joint assembly allow your front wheels to move up and down independently while allowing them to turn left or right according to the steering input. Control arms are mostly used in front axles, where they are attached to the steering knuckle. Some vehicles use two control arms, upper and lower, on each side. They are attached to the spindle via ball joints typically in a double-wishbone suspension setup. Whereas in the MacPherson strut suspension system, a single lower control arm is used.
1. Lower Control Arm
What Does A Lower Control Arm Do?
The function of a lower control arm is to connect the steering knuckle to the frame and stabilize the vehicle by allowing wheels and the chassis to move in unison. It also offers excellent coordination between the suspension and steering system, giving the driver the ability to maneuver the vehicle.
The lower control arm is a sturdy component that can take a lot of stress and impact, but with time, the wear and tear are inevitable and it has to be replaced. The degree of damage and the time of replacement varies depending upon the driving styles, terrains, etc. Harsh driving and unpaved surfaces can cause the lower control arm on your vehicle to wear out quickly. Water, slush, and road salt also lead to corrosion and shorten the lifespan of the component.
Why Should I Replace My Lower Control Arm?
The problem with lower control arms usually begins with the bushings and the ball joint. In some cases, the frame damage to the control arm can occur due to extreme flexing or a forceful impact. A damaged or improperly functioning lower control arm has to be replaced because it can cause misalignment, grinding noises, and the wheels to wobble. If you notice one of these symptoms, you need to check your lower control arm for damage and get it replaced. Changing your damaged lower control arm will benefit you with improved ride quality and stability.
2. Upper Control Arm
Some vehicles are equipped with two control arms, the upper and the lower. For many years, the double-wishbone suspension has been used on many vehicles, which require two control arms on either side of the suspension. Two control arms used on vehicles offer better handling capabilities and control. This type of system is used on pickup trucks, SUVs, luxury vehicles, and race cars. The upper arm is smaller compared to the lower and each of them is provided with a ball joint. As the wheels move over a bump, both the control arms swing up and down on rubber bushings.
Should I Replace Both Control Arms?
In both the layouts, the control arms are very essential components and if they get damaged, the safety of the vehicle gets compromised. It is recommended to replace both the upper and lower control arms because the control arms wear out at the same rate and if one of the arms is worn out, it's likely that the other needs replacement. It is also advised to replace the lower control arms on both sides of your vehicle as well. This allows you to align your wheels once and saves a lot of time and money on realignment if you replace a control arm later.
What Are The Benefits Of Changing The Control Arms?
The design and quality of control arms determine the wheel travel, suspension durability, and wheel alignment. Replacing the worn-out control arms can bring the ride quality to its factory condition and if you are making any modifications to your truck or SUV, replacing the upper control arms should be considered.
Stronger Control Arms
Vehicles with OEM control arms perform great, but they can snap or wear out quickly if you are driving on rough terrains. If you own an off-road vehicle, it becomes very important that you replace your OEM control arms with stronger aftermarket ones that allow you to cross obstacles with ease.
Improved Ride Quality
Upgraded control arms offer better ride quality compared to OEM ones and they weigh less too. This reduces the overall unsprung mass, offering a smoother ride. Additionally, aftermarket control arms can accommodate replacement shocks that offer better performance compared to OEM shocks.
3. Lower Ball Joint
What Does A Lower Ball Joint Do?
The purpose of a lower ball joint is to provide a pivoting movement between the wheels and the suspension. Similar to the ball and socket joint in our bodies, the ball joint located at the end of the control arm enables the front wheels to be steered right or left while allowing them to move up and down with the suspensions. Most of the cars have at least one ball joint with one control arm and in some cases upper ball joint as well.
Why Should I Replace The Ball Joints Of My Vehicle?
Ball joints are critical components of your vehicle's control arms and they connect them to the wheel hubs. Although they are built to last a long time, their life can vary depending on the driving habits, exposure to road splash, salt, and road conditions. A bad ball joint can cause intermittent clunking sound from the front of the vehicle, especially while going over a bump or a dip or around a corner. Worn ball joints can further lead to loose or sloppy steering, vibrating steering wheel, and uneven tire wear. Therefore, it is very important to replace the worn-out lower ball joints for the proper functioning of the steering and suspension assembly.
4. Upper Ball Joint
What Does An Upper Ball Joint Do?
The upper ball joint has the same function as the lower ball joint and connects the steering knuckles to the control arms for a smooth and proper movement of the suspensions. Many modern economy and compact vehicles use McPherson Strut suspension that uses one control arm and a lower ball joint. In a non-MacPherson strut suspension system, an upper ball joint is also used, along with a lower ball joint. In this type of setup, the upper ball joint is attached to the upper control arm, whereas the lower ball joint supports the load of the vehicle.
Control arm and ball joints are very important components of the suspension and steering assembly. Any damage or wear and tear to these components can negatively affect the handling, comfort and may cause a catastrophic failure of the system. This is the reason you should inspect the components related to your control arm and replace the bad or worn-out ones for a safe and comfortable ride.