When Should Suspension Bushings Be Replaced?. Suspension bushings are an important component of every car, but because they are concealed beneath the chassis, it’s easy to overlook them. Replacing worn bushings has significant safety and performance consequences, and it can even save you money on having to replace tires or other components that have been damaged due to worn bushings.
Here’s how suspension bushings function and when to replace them.
SUSPENSION BUSHINGS ARE A KEY COMPONENT OF YOUR VEHICLE.
Both the chassis and the principal suspension components of a vehicle — springs, control arms, rods, and so on — are comprised of metal. These components are frequently in motion in relation to one another. A bushing connects and facilitates movement between suspension parts while protecting them from frictional damage.
Bushings also protect the rest of the car from vibrations caused by this motion. Bushings are often made of metal that has been covered with rubber, which is a good insulator that can flex under weight without being damaged.
YOU CAN Usually tell when a suspension bushing has worn out.
Rubber is durable, but it does not last indefinitely. Heat, road salt, vigorous driving, and moisture can all damage the rubber in a bushing over time. A weakened bushing is more prone to tearing, and once compromised, its entire performance suffers quickly.
Some bushings are also filled with liquid to absorb further vibrations. If the fluid leaks via a tear, the bushing will no longer provide the same level of insulation.
From behind the wheel, a worn-out bushing is usually simple to spot. If your vehicle’s suspension becomes noisier, particularly while driving over bumps or uneven roads, that metal-on-metal sound is an indicator that a bushing has failed.
Other symptoms include strange wheel movements when stopping or accelerating, as well as steering that does not stay straight. Uneven tire wear can also suggest an issue with bushings because the suspension can no longer stay in alignment due to the worn rubber.
SUSPENSION BUSHINGS DEPEND ON USE, NOT MILEAGE.
Unlike many other automotive components, there is no defined mileage interval for changing suspension bushings. Because worn-out rubber is the most common cause of a defective bushing, driving style and driving environment have the biggest influence on how long they last. Someone who drives their vehicle to the maximum on a frequent basis (stressing out the bushings) or in adverse conditions (rough roads and salt) will have a shorter bushing lifespan.
If a vehicle exhibits any of the warning signs indicated, it is time to have its bushings evaluated and maybe replaced. Don’t put your safety, braking, and steering at risk to save a few dollars and push the problem farther down the road.
Many automobiles have aftermarket replacement alternatives ranging in price from cheap rubber bushings to premium bushings comprised of more durable materials.
If you frequently encounter bushings that wear out quickly, upgrading to polyurethane bushings can provide a stronger, longer-lasting option. The material used in these bushings is substantially stiffer than rubber and will transmit additional vibration (and potentially noise) into the cabin.