If your vehicle is handling poorly, or there seems to be a significant amount of play in your steering wheel, then you probably need to change your control arm bushings. Your vehicle's axles are held in place by a series of 4 control arms, 2 upper and 2 lower, at the end of these are bushings, which can deteriorate over time. These need to be replaced before a serious accident occurs from their outright failure. Changing the control arm bushings is quiet an easy job, if you know the proper steps.
Tools and Materials
- A socket set and ratchet
- A power-drill
- A hole-saw kit
- A wire brush (copper or aluminum)
- Lubricating oil
- A vice
- A can of spray paint
Step 1 - Check the Control Arm
Locate the control arms on the vehicle. You’ll need to know what these look like, so look up a picture of them for your specific make and model car. In all models, you can find them bolted to both the axle and the frame. Examine control arms for any stress fractures. If there are any, you need to replace the arm.
Step 2 - Remove the Control Arm
Use the ratchet to remove the bolts, one control arm at a time. If you remove more than one at a time, your axle can shift position, and that is definitely something you don't want happening. Lift the control arm out of the mounting brackets and remove it from the vehicle.
Step 3 - Take Drill in Hand
Using the power drill and hole saw kit, drill a 1 1/2-inch hole in the center of the control arm bushings. Make sure you drill straight through the bushing, and all the way through.
Step 4 - Removal of the Bushings
Use your pliers to grip and remove the remaining pieces of the control arm bushings.
Step 5 - Clean and Paint
Use the wire brush to clean the control-arm hole the bushing was just in. This is where the paint would come in useful; you’ll want to spray any bare metal that is shown from the cleaning, so it doesn’t rust. You’ll want to allow the paint to dry at least 3 hours before moving on. Now that the old busing is out and the control arm is clean and painted, it’s time to install the new control arm bushing.
Step 6 - Use the Oil
Coat the outside of the busing with a conservative amount of lubricating oil. Ensure that oil is spread everwhere evenly.
Step 7 - The Vice
Place the bushing and the control arm side by side in a vise. Squeeze the vise slowly, to push the new bushing completely into the control arm, until it’s fully set.
Step 8 - Re-install the Control Arm
Re-install the control arm back into position in the brackets. Replace the bolts holding it into the bracket, and tighten them back down with the ratchet and sockets.
Step 9 - Repeat
Repeat this process with your remaining 3 control arms. Remember, do only one at a time, so the axle doesn't shift position. Use patience, and soon your new control arm bushings will be installed.