5 Symptoms of a Bad Lower and Upper Control Arms in Your Car

Last Updated on January 9, 2022 by themechanic

The suspension system provides stability and smoothness to the wheels and tires of your vehicle as you’re driving. The wheels are connected to the suspension system by components called control arms. There are an upper control arm and lower control arm connected to the wheels which provide them with both synchronization and stabilization as they’re rotating on the road. This is especially helpful whenever you drive over uneven terrain or bumps.

An “A” shape forms when the upper control arm and lower control arm are connected to the wheels and the car frame’s steering knuckles. There are various ball joints and bushings which absorb most of the vibrations and impact from the tough road conditions. When the control arm wears out, for instance, then it usually has something to do with it having bad bushings or joints. These are the areas of the control arm which sustain the most damage from driving.

Actually, There are similar symptoms between both upper and lower control arms when these parts going bad. And in this article we are going explain the bad symptoms of this both parts (upper and lower control arms).

Bad Lower Control Arm Symptoms

You must really understand the symptoms of a bad lower control arm before you will recognize it as the problem. Many of these symptoms can be caused by other problems in the car too. But if you experience enough of these symptoms together, then you can link them to a bad lower control arm.

Below are the top 5 symptoms of a bad lower control arm in your car.

1) Steering Wheel Pulling

A bad lower control arm may cause your steering wheel to pull too much to the right or left side as you’re driving. This is obviously a bad thing because it will be more difficult to keep your vehicle straight on the road. It won’t be impossible, but it will require more effort on your part to stabilize the steering wheel. But you shouldn’t keep driving like this because it will get worse over time. Replace your lower control arm instead.

2) Steering Wheel Vibrations

A bad lower control arm will have trouble suppressing the vibrations and motions of the vehicle. You will feel more vibrations coming from your steering wheel when this happens. The intensity of the vibrations will increase as you step on the accelerator pedal to go faster. Don’t tolerate these vibrations for longer than necessary. Replace the bad control arm to stop them.

3) Clunking Noises

If your lower control arm is worn out or loose, you’ll notice a lot of strange clunking noises coming from the frame area. The noises will grow louder as you accelerate or drive over bumpy roads or uneven terrain. The bushing of the control arm is probably the main cause of this. Consider the noise as a warning sign of worse symptoms to come. So, take care of the problem now rather than later.

4) Wheel Wobbling

You can test your wheels to see if they’re moving more than they’re supposed to. Use a jack to raise the vehicle up, so one side of wheels are off the ground. Push the wheels with your hands. Does any wheel feel extra wobbly? If so, you probably have a lower control arm issue that needs to be addressed.

5) Steering Wheel Wobbling

The wheels are not the only thing that wobbles when you have a bad lower control arm. The steering wheel will wobble too. This means it will erratically move around from side to side as you’re driving fast, especially over 50 miles-per-hour. Of course, this could also be caused by uneven tire treads, bent wheels, or misaligned wheels too. A mechanic can tell for sure what the real cause is.

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Bad Upper Control Arms Symptoms

Upper control arms usually found in car with double wishbone suspension system such as Toyota Tundra, Toyota land Cruiser, Alfa Romeo Giulia 952, Honda Accord, Most Model of Mercedes Benz and so on.

If you have a bad upper control arm, the symptoms will present themselves very clearly. Many of these symptoms will interfere with your steering and driving abilities. You can’t let these symptoms continue for too much longer or else you’ll risk getting into an accident. Once you recognize these symptoms as being due to a bad upper control arm, then you need to replace the arm as soon as possible.

Below are the top 5 symptoms of a bad upper control arm in your car.

1) Vibrations

The job of an upper control arm is to help maintain a smooth and comfortable driving experience. This means limiting the intensity of the motions and vibrations of your vehicle as it is moving. But if you have a bad upper control arm, then the vibrations will become more apparent. As you step on the gas pedal to increase your vehicle speed, the vibrations in the steering wheel will get worse. You must replace the control arm to fix this problem.

2) Pulling

The steering wheel may start pulling to the left or right if you have a bad upper control arm. This can make it difficult to drive straight because you’ll have to use more force to control the steering wheel. As the upper control arm gets worse, it will require even more strength to keep the vehicle straight. To keep everyone safe, replace the upper control arm so that your steering wheel doesn’t do this anymore.

3) Wandering Steering Wheel

Aside from the pulling effect of the steering wheel, you may experience a wandering steering wheel too if the upper control arm goes bad. This is where the steering wheel wanders from one side to the next on its own. If you’re driving on a straight road and you take your hands off the steering wheel, you’ll know that you have a bad upper control arm if the steering wheel keeps going back and forth from each side. Of course, this may be caused by uneven tire treads too, so you’ll need a mechanic to verify the exact cause of the problem.

4) Wobbly Wheel

Your wheels should be strong and securely fastened to the control arms. But if any of the wheels are wobbly, then it could mean that you have a bad upper control arm. You can test for this problem by jacking up your vehicle and trying to push the wheels with your hands to see which ones are wobbly if any.

5) Clunking Sounds

As the upper control arm starts to wear down, it will likely become loose. Once this happens, it will shake around under the frame and make a lot of clunking sounds. Whenever you accelerate faster, especially on uneven roads, then the sounds will get louder. Do not ignore these sounds because they mean something is wrong with your control arm.


See, there are similar symptoms between these both parts (Upper and lower control arms). But between upper and lower control arms are totally different parts, different construction, different function, different working principle and different price as well. If you facing one of these symptoms above, just make sure to check both parts.

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