Bushings 101: What you need to know

Most car owners probably don’t even know what bushings are. They may sound silly to you, but these components are essential for vehicle suspension.

Bushings provide a boundary between car components to insulation vibration. They reduce the energy being transmitted from one moving component to another which, in turn, significantly reduces vibration and keeps the driver and passengers comfortable inside the car. Rubber bushings are the most commonly used for cars as their design helps manufacturers meet industry standards for Noise, Vibration, and Harshness or NVH.

There are many things in a car  that can cause vibration, but control arm bushings are very susceptible to damage. Like many car parts, the rubber they’re made of, though durable, wears out after a long time of constant usage. Watch out for these signs to see if something is wrong with a bushing:

1) Strange Sounds

Damaged bushings can trigger clunking and creaking from the steering system when you increase the car’s speed or turn a sharp corner, if a malfunctioning bushing makes the suspension and frame parts move abnormally. A damaged bushing can also weaken the bond between two car parts, causing a misalignment. Every time the misaligned parts return to their original positions as the vehicle moves, they make clunking noises which are noticeable due to the rhythmic movement of the car.

Bushings that continuously connect to their metal casing because of worn rubber can also create squeaks as the vehicle is in motion.

2) Poor Steering

Soft bushings are sometimes used to hold the whole suspension system together because they are better at absorbing noise, vibration, and shock than firm ones. But, unfortunately, there is a limit when it comes to softness. If the bushings are too soft and excessively flex, it can lead to sloppy steering and vehicle movement especially when you increase the speed. An accident may happen just because the car does not react fast enough to your steering.

3) Uncomfortable Ride

A normal passenger will never be comfortable when the vehicle creates too much noise and vibration while moving down the road. Since the main purpose of bushings is to control vibrations as the energy moves from one part to another, a damaged one can already affect the whole dynamic of the vehicle especially if it connects two big, crucial systems.

At V&F

To solve all these clunks, creaks and squeaks, a mechanic must fix or replace the damaged bushings. If your car needs maintenance or repair, call us at (413)314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.

Written by Nicole Palange

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