The lower control arm bushing is located in the suspension system of your vehicle. It is a rubber component which has two metal sleeves inside of it.
It is responsible for allowing the control arm to connect to the frame of the vehicle and the wheel hub. That way, every time you turn the steering wheel, your vehicle will move smoothly in that direction.
In normal situations, you will not hear any noises coming from the lower control arm bushing. It will be silent and with no vibrations or issues. On the other hand, if there is a problem with the bushing, then noises can arise.
Top 5 Reasons for a Noisy Lower Control Arm Bushing
Someone who is unfamiliar with cars might not understand what is happening when they hear strange clunking noises. Although there are many reasons for why abnormal noises might occur in a vehicle, a problem with the lower control arm bushing will create very distinct noises.
These noises almost resemble a knocking sound from around the control arm area. Here are five of the most common causes of lower control arm bushing noise:
#1 – Worn Bushing
Bushings do not last forever. The more mileage that is put on your vehicle, the more excessively worn your lower control arm bushing gets.
You will first start to hear a light clunking sound but as the bushing gets more worn, the clunking sound will get louder and more consistent.
#2 – Loose Bushing
If you have a loose lower control arm bushing, then it will get knocked around between the metal components that surround it. This might not necessarily mean the bushing is worn.
Perhaps you drove over a bump which loosened it. Either that or a mechanic may have accidentally loosened it while working on another area of your vehicle.
Whatever the reason, loose bushings will consistently make the same knocking sounds.
#3 – Broken Bushing
A lower control arm bushing could break from being too worn out. It could also have been damaged accidentally by a mechanic who was working on something else.
A broken control arm bushing will create very loud clunking noises, which won’t be gradually louder like the worn bushings.
#4 – Driving on Uneven Terrain
If you drive over uneven terrain, such as gravel or a rocky road, then the knocking or clunking sounds that you hear will be amplified.
A bushing in good condition would not get loosened or rattle around from driving over this kind of terrain. But if the bushing is not secured in its place, the erratic motion of the vehicle as it drives over this terrain could make the bushings loosen more.
#5 – Hard Acceleration
If you have loose bushings, then you will hear the knocking noises the loudest as you’re taking off from a standstill. For example, when your vehicle is parked somewhere, and you switch the gear to drive and then floor the gas pedal, then the knocking will be the loudest at this point.
How to Fix a Noisy Control Arm Bushing
If the bushing is just loose, then it was either knocked loose or not installed correctly. Chances are, you will be able to save this bushing by just tightening it.
However, in most situations, your bushing will be worn out and you will have to replace it. Either way, you should take the vehicle to an auto body professional, so they can perform this repair or replacement job for you.
It is not a good idea to ignore the clunking or knocking noises because this could lead up to a steering malfunction where you won’t be able to control your vehicle’s direction anymore. It is best to get the problem solved at your earliest convenience.