How Long Can I Drive With Bad Control Arms?
Your car’s suspension system can take a lot of wear and tear before you notice signs of damage or anything being off; a crucial component is your car’s control arms. When your control arm starts to show signs of significant wear, you should get it looked at by a mechanic as soon as possible. However, if you can’t get to your auto body shop when you first notice the issue, just how long can you drive on a bad control arm?
Signs You Have a Bad Control Arm
Before you figure out how long you can drive on bad control arms, you need to know if they have a problem. This crucial component connects your wheel hub and steering knuckles to your car’s chassis. It allows your wheels to receive the movement commands you make with your steering wheel and provides the precision control you need while driving.
The key to safely maneuvering on a bad control arm revolves around quickly identifying the problem before it can worsen and finding the correct parts to fix the issue. Recognizing potential problems early can help keep your vehicle’s suspension and steering system road-ready.
Steering Starts to Wander
When your independent suspension and steering system works as intended, you get the smooth ride you expected when you first brought the car. However, with a bad control arm, you may notice your steering to drift to the left or the right. When you see this movement, it’s usually a sign that you have a worn-out ball joint or bushing that has caused the misalignment.
Weird Clunking Noises
If your car hits a bump or makes hard contact with the road and you start to hear strange clunking sounds, it’s time to take your vehicle in to get it checked out. Additionally, if you hear these noises after braking for a sharp turn, it’s usually tied to a bad control arm.
Decreased Driver Comfort
Regardless of the type of the suspension system, when it’s working properly, you get a smooth ride that makes driving your car a breeze. However, when your vehicle faces issues in different parts of the suspension system, you’ll feel every dip in the bumpy road. Instead of absorbing the energy and distributing it evenly across your suspension, your bad control arm makes for a rough ride.
Issues With the Braking System
Whether your control arm has suffered minor or significant damage, these issues can create problems with your braking system. When working properly, the control arms oscillate with your vehicle’s motion, which helps make braking a smooth process; if you lose that oscillation, your braking system becomes more unstable and potentially unreliable.
Trouble With Accelerating
A major component of highway driving, accelerating to match the flow of traffic, keeps you safe on your morning commute. The control arms help your vehicle reach that velocity in a safe and controlled manner. If you start from a static position and feel more vibrations in the steering wheel while picking up speed, it could lead back to a faulty control arm.
So — How Long Can I Drive with a Bad Control Arm?
Sometimes, it can take some time to notice an issue with your suspension; other problems will make themselves immediately known. For drivers dealing with a faulty or malfunctioning control arm, finding time to take it to the mechanic to get it checked out can take longer than you initially thought.
Additionally, you should know how far is too far when pushing your car if you’re still trying to get errands done or go to work before getting your suspension system checked out. Bad or broken control arms can lead to accidents that end up costing you more money in the long run.
To answer how long can I drive with a bad control arm — it can vary, but typically a week. For most bad control arms, you can go on them for about seven days before the problem significantly worsens. However, depending on the nature of the damage, that time frame could be much shorter before a major accident happens.
What to Do If You Find Yourself Dealing with a Problematic Control Arm
Your vehicle’s suspension system needs to work together with your wheels and tires to provide you with the smoothest ride possible. When that system experiences problems, identifying and fixing the problem quickly will help keep your car road-ready. Knowing where you can get durable and reliable control arms will help make addressing any issues that may arise easier.
Metrix Premium Chassis Parts has the selection of high-quality aftermarket control arms to keep your suspension system in optimal working condition. Browse our inventory and find the control arms or suspension kits that fit your vehicle today!