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Buyer's Guide: How To Buy Control Arms
How To Buy Control Arms
The control arm (AKA the wishbone) in your vehicle is an essential piece of your automobile’s suspension system. For this reason, buying a replacement control arm is a must when they have become worn due to natural wear and tear. However, the process of buying a control arm is never an easy task. Many times you are either left with a sizable and rather unnecessary dent in your bank account or you end up confused as to which control arm in your car you need to replace. This confusion sometimes leads to purchasing the wrong part.
This is why we have created this buyer’s guide for you. We will walk you through the process of how to buy a control arm and address common questions and concerns that usually arise during the purchase of this part. Our goal is to enable you to buy the right quality part(s) at the fairest prices.
What is a Control Arm?
The control arm, or wishbone as it sometimes referred to, is an A-shaped component of your vehicle’s suspension. The control arm will always pivot in two places; the broad end of the triangle attaches onto the frame and pivots on a bushing. The other end attaches to the steering knuckle and pivots on a ball called a ball joint. If you have two control arms per wheel (upper and lower) then your car has a double wishbone suspension type, while if you only have one per wheel it is commonly referred to as a MacPherson strut suspension type. The main function of a control arm is to attach the wheels to the frame of the vehicle and provide your vehicle with a level of stability.
The control arm is important because without it you would feel every single bump you drive over, as the wheels would have no manner of stabilizing the frame of the vehicle. Please visit this page for more information: What is a Control Arm?
How Do You Know if You Need New Control Arms?
Unfortunately, control arm wear and tear is very common. Taking your car in for routine maintenance will help extend the life of your control arms, but if you are driving your car around consistently you will go over many bumps in the road which will cause this part to wear. Typically, you start to notice the wear and tear of control arms when you feel excessive play in your vehicle’s suspension. This makes the car difficult to move and reduces the dampening effect, thus creating a noticeable change in drive quality. If you notice this change, we recommend having your control arms inspected by a mechanic. Below we have some photos of common wear and tear issues:
Below we have some photos of common wear and tear issues:
Buying Your Control Arms
Once you know you need to have your control arm(s) replaced do not just accept the quote for the part that your mechanic is giving you. Ask them specifically what the position of the control arm you need to replace is and then hop online and go to www.buyautoparts.com. Search for your year, make and model and then click on the exact part you need depending on the position your mechanic had told you that you needed. Below we will list the common positions of a control arm and different options we offer:
Control Arm Positions (Vary depending on your vehicle)
Why We Recommend Buying Control Arms in Pairs or in a Full Replacement Kit
Since the main reason control arms are replaced is due to wear and tear, chances are if one control arm position needs to be replaced other positions will need to be replaced soon. This is why we recommend buying your control arms in pairs for the specific wheel position you need replaced or buying a full control arm replacement kit to replace all control arms in your car. Doing this further enables you to maintain a more balanced ride quality. BuyAutoParts.com offers control arm pairs and kits for many vehicle selections, start your search here.
Labor and Part Costs
The cost of the part varies depending on where you are buying from and the extent of the repairs required. If you only need to replace one control arm and you buy online with us it will cost you around $50-$250 for a single control arm. The cost of labor depends on your mechanic’s labor rates; they should provide you an estimate after inspecting your car.
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are there any other parts I should buy with my control arms?
A full replacement kit will come with all the parts you need for a repair. Most of our control arms and kits come with the bushing and ball joints attached to the control arm, however in some situations you will need to source these parts elsewhere or purchase the part separately. For any other parts needed you should be made aware of them by the mechanic working on your car. If you need any help in the buying process please give us a call:
Customer Service: 1-800-241-3197
2. How do I save money purchasing my control arms?
The simplest answer to this question is to not buy this part from the dealership or your local shop. The cost of the part will be much higher if you do this due to markups. The labor is most likely a service you will need from your mechanic so do not cut ties with them completely. Instead, ask them to provide you with all the parts you need and tell them you found a way to make car repairs more affordable.
3. I need additional help purchasing or installing my Control Arms
We have a full team of American Based Auto Parts Experts waiting to help you, give us a call and we will be happy to help go over how to buy Control Arms!
Customer Service: 1-800-241-3197
4. What are some warning signs that indicate I need new control arms?
Common indication signs that you need a new control arm include the car shaking uncontrollably, difficulty changing directions or if you excessively feel bumps and pits on the road. Any of these signs are good indicators you should get your car checked out by a mechanic.
5. How long does it take to install a control arm?
Control arm replacement is definitely a repair the average do-it-yourself type can do on their own. If you have the mechanical know-how to perform this repair, then the duration of the repair depends on how many control arms you are replacing, your vehicle and your level of mechanical expertise. It can take anywhere between 2-6 hours (varies depending on the previously mentioned factors).
By Juan Cuellar