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The front lower control arm is a crucial part of your car’s suspension. And since your suspension is a critical system in your car, that makes the front lower control arm a very important part of your car. The purpose of the control arms (which your car has quite a few of) is to connect the steering system to the frame of the car. By doing this, the control arms limit and absorb the amount of force that the car has to deal with. The result is that you get to experience a smooth, comfortable, and peaceful drive, while your car isn’t subject to too much damage from the road. So, let’s dig into control arms a little bit. I’ll try and make it easy to understand, just so you can hopefully keep up. Most cars have control arms placed at each corner. Front control arms usually connect to the frame at one end and the steering knuckle at the other. When the vehicle travels over a bump, the control arm pivots on bushings, allowing your car’s wheels to move up and down. Not all cars have upper and lower control arms, but yours presumably does. If not, then I’m not sure why you’re reading an article on front lower control arms, but I’m not here to judge. And hopefully I don’t need to tell you where the lower control arms are placed, relative to the upper ones. Control arms are very strong and made of steel or aluminum. Thanks to their strength and structure, they can limit the movement of the steering knuckles, to reduce how much movement is transmitted to your car. Which, trust me, helps. Since they’re so strong, control arms are extremely durable. Unless your car has been involved in an accident, it’s very unlikely that the control arms are broken. Control arms do have bushings and ball joints attached to them, however, and those may need to be replaced from time to time. With all of that said, on some cars, the control arms will need to be replaced when the bushings or ball joints are replaced, even if the control arm is in fine shape.
So, here’s something you hopefully already knew. Your steering wheel isn’t supposed to vibrate. If your steering wheel is vibrating, there’s something going on that shouldn’t be going on. If your car’s front lower control arm is busted, then the vibrations of the steering system will start to make their way back into your car. And they’ll come through the steering wheel. Next thing you know, your steering wheel will be jiggling around like a skateboard on a gravel road. It’s annoying. And it kind of tickles. And it will only get worse.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that your car shouldn’t be making foreign noises. And that those noises are a warning sign that something is wrong. Lots of different things in your car can make lots of different weird noises. If your front lower control arm is having a bad day, then it will likely make a knocking noise. Listen to that knocking noise, which you’ll kind of be forced to do, because it’s really annoying. And no, it won’t go away, so don’t try your preferred method of dealing with problems by ignoring them.
Pulling is when you’re driving along, presumably in a straight line, but the car keeps pulling to the left or to the right. No matter how much you straighten out the wheel, the car keeps drifting to one side or another. It’s a pretty bizarre sensation. Your car can pull to the left or the right for a few reasons. One of those reasons is that the front lower control arms are busted, creating uneven support and screwing up the car’s alignment.
Like I just said, a dying front lower control arm can cause your wheels to be improperly aligned. In addition to creating pulling, that will lead to your car having uneven wear on the tires. Always keep an eye out for irregularities with your tires. Spotting things like uneven wear can save you a lot of money, and keep your car as safe as possible.
If your front lower control arm replacement is damaged because of an accident, then you need to get it replaced immediately. Like, yesterday.
But if it’s just starting to give out on you, then you can drive it short distances safely. But don’t push it. Get it dealt with.
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