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Front Control Arm Compliance Bushings Question

Hi all!

I took my 2007 Acura TSX into the dealership this morning for a full brake job. The sales advisor stated that my front control arm compliance bushings are starting to tear and are in the “caution” area. He further stated to replace them they drop the control arm and then the car will need a realignment as well. I am planning on replacing these, however, how long can you usually go with slight tears in them? I definitely plan on having them replaced prior to winter, but didn’t know if this was something I should move on sooner.

What do these bushings even do?

Also, is this a big job to do? I am going to find the bushings online for cheaper than the dealership and then just pay the labor to have them installed.

Thanks much!

Buying parts then having someone install them means no warranty on the parts or alignment. Who ever does the work usually will back the parts and labor if they have complete control. This is a silly way to save a few dollars.

It depends on if you feel something odd in the steering/handling.

The compliance bushings are what keeps the front wheels aligned.

See the bushings? Those are what gets worn out.

If you don’t feel something odd in the steering/handling, there’s probably nothing wrong with the bushings.


Ok, I wasn’t sure if this was something to replace immediately. I will take VOLVO’s advice and just let the dealer order the parts.

If these tears our refer to are tiny weather cracks then you could possibly let this repair slide; assuming any weather checking is not too severe.

Now if those cracks are tears as you describe them they need to be replaced.

Get a second opinion. Bushings will commonly show surface cracks (“checking”) that are not significant, and far too many shops being pushed to bring in revenue will want to replace them needlessly. Surface fracturing is normal. The bushings do not need to look brand new.

I think @Tester picture is the wrong one. Compliance bushings are in the lower control arm not the upper and look like this:

That void makes the bushing softer so when you hit a bump the wheel can absorb it by moving backwards. I don’t see a replacement front lower control arm but I do see replacement bushings. The lower arm has one of these compliance bushings and one smaller stiffer bushing that is there for handling. Replacement lower ball joints are also available. The Acura dealer may just do and entire lower arm replacement and you’ll get new all around.

These parts need to be pressed out of the control arm. You can get free tool rentals for this but this is not a Mechanic 101 type job. More like 201. Or buy the Acura part from a dealer and then replacement is far easier. You’ll still need an alignment either way.

Your dealer may be attempting to generate work for their repair department. This is not at all unheard of and manufacturers do not tell dealers how to be profitable enough to stay in business. You could be a bit skeptical to ask the salesman if Acura has improved the quality of their suspension bushing materials for newer models and mention too that it might be good to consider another brand when you buy again. Then listen for the fast talk. Ask to be shown what the salesman is telling you. Not much time would be needed to run the car up on a hoist for that.

I have owned cars to various ages up to 30 years and have never intentionally replaced suspension bushings except inherently with “A” frames in an early Toyota that wore out its ball joints. Note that non of the respondents to this thread said that they needed new bushings in their vehicles.

Keep in mind that surface cracking might very well be present but the interior material is sealed away from atmospheric and road chemical conditions that might attack the surface material.

Defective bushings that result in an unsafe driving condition would be grounds for a safety recall and you would have likely heard about it by now. An epidemic of failed suspension bushings in Hondas/Acuras would be well known. 9 model years is not at all very old these days.

I see plenty of vehicles in our fleet that need control arm bushings

Meaning the rubber is COMPLETELY disintegrated, and all that’s left is the outer shell, and the inner sleeve

These are not 20-year old vehicles with 250K, BTW

What do these bushings even do?

The wheels aren’t bolted to the body, instead your car is like a bobble head doll, the body is attached to the wheels with springs. If all you had were springs holding the wheels to the body though, the wheels would wobble around & point in every which way. That’s no good. So the car designers added some parts from the body to the wheel to hold the wheels pointing in the correct direction w/respect to the body. But still allowing the springs to move up and down to take the bumps out of the ride. The control arms are one of those gadgets, and since they need to allow some movement, that’s what the bushings do.

I have replaced many lower control arm bushings of this type on vehicles of 10 years and older.

Here is an example of a torn bushing, on the left side the rubber has torn away exposing the nylon core in the center. When the bushing is completely torn there will be fore/aft movement when braking or accelerating affecting the wheel alignment and tire wear.