How Do I Know If A Suspension Bush Is Worn?

How do I know if my suspension bushes need replacing?

Suspension bushes are important parts of the suspension. It’s often hard to find out if you need a suspension bush replacement. Wear to the bushes usually takes place slowly, often you only find out that you have worn bushes after an MOT test. Deteriorated bushes are in fact one of the most frequent MOT advisories.

Symptoms of worn bushes normally include an uncomfortable ride and unstable feel to the car. Especially when braking, accelerating or going through a corner. It’s important to get an issue like this fixed fast, here’s how to get it sorted.

What Are Suspension Bushes?

A suspension bush is a rubber part that is fitted between most suspension parts. They ensure that there is no metal-to-metal contact between the parts it holds. It, moreover, controls the amount of movement between parts.

The suspension bushes therefore have a very important role to play in making sure that your car drives smoothly. They will help dampen the impact of uneven road surfaces on the suspension. On top of that they will filter out any vibrations or road noise in the process. The bushes also help keep your car stable when you change direction or accelerate or brake.

Suspension bushes are located anywhere on the suspension where one suspension part joins another part. Parts like a suspension control arm, wishbone or trailing arm all have one or more bushes. A specific type of bush called the ball joint can be found in the steering system.

Why Do I Need To Replace A Suspension Bush?

The suspension bushes can deteriorate over time. They are constantly exposed to the elements as they are fitted underneath the car. As such they have to cope with a variety of things. On the one hand there are temperature changes and on the other there are the extreme forces that are put on the bushes. Then there is all the dirt that over time will nestle itself in and around the bushes. In short, it means that over time the bushes can become brittle, or can crack. At which point a suspension bush replacement is needed.

How Do I Know If I Need A Suspension Bush Replacement?

Often an MOT will pick up on decaying or damaged bushes. An advisory will be given if they are on their way out but not quite need replacing. You will normally fail your MOT if deterioration has continued to the point where a bush has split or cracked. Remember, a split or cracked suspension bush can be dangerous as it will make your car unstable. You will then need a replacement to stand any chance of passing your MOT re-test.

An MOT will of course give you a clear answer on whether a bush needs replacing. But remember, it can’t harm to look out for signs that will tell you whether a change is needed anyway. Remember, a worn bush can make the car unstable or be the cause of an unstable ride, which is not what you want.

Signs that there is wear to the part do not limit itself to a bad ride. A clunking or rattling noise, for example, will tell that there may be something wrong. The symptoms will show up especially when you go through a corner or when you drive over a bad road surface. Another sign that can tell a bush is worn is when there is uneven tyre wear. One tyre, for example, can wear more than the other in a certain area.

How Do I Replace A Bush?

If you need a suspension bush replacement then there are different options to choose from. Often it’s possible just to replace the worn bush with a new one, but this can be tricky as a heavy press may be needed. Sometimes bushes can simply not be replaced on its own. They may only be available as part of the suspension arm.

If you’re not sure the bushes on your car need replacing make sure to ask your mechanic to check them next time work is done on your car. With ClickMechanic, for example, checking the suspension is a standard part of each service.

About Kurt Schleier

Resident classic car enthusiast and blogger at Clickmechanic.

Comments

  1. I had no idea my bushing were under so much stress. I have owned my car for 10 years now. In all that time I have done nothing with the suspension. I need to have it looked at. I have noticed the steering is getting a little sloppy. I do live on a dirt road as well. I am sure all the bumps and dust are not helping out my bushings at all.

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