Bushes and Bump Stops

Understanding Bushes and Bump Stops

Bushes are cushions made of polyurethane, rubber or other materials. They are usually mounted on the steering joints and car suspensions to absorb shock from road bumps, reduce the movement in the joints, keep noise levels down and control vibrations. These components are thick, rubbery washers through which the bolts pass. Over time, bushings will start to wear out. In such a scenario, they will start to allow more movement. A driver will hear a rattling noise while driving on rough roads, during instances of heavy braking or when turning the wheel. Problems in the rear bushes might be hard to detect since they are not affected when the vehicle is turning.

Why Bushes are Important

Suspension bushes are used to absorb shock in the control arms, ball joints, stabiliser bars and strut mounts. You will also find the bushes in transmission mounts, engine mounting, steering parts and various parts of the suspension. Over time, these parts will wear out or crack, especially as a result of heat, stress from frequent movements and exposure to salts. Suspension bushes act as cartilages that protect the elbows and knees. Remember that cartilages prevent bone-to-bone contact, which can be extremely painful. In the same way, the bushings prevent metal-on-metal contact. When the bushings in the control arm wear out, they cause the car to lose its alignment. In such an instance, you will notice that new tyres will wear out prematurely.

When you should Inspect Bushes

Inspecting the bushings from time to time is vital. Whenever you hear a cranking sound in the shock absorbers and ball joints, the problem might be in the suspension bushes. Before you set out to replace the shock absorbers, you should inspect the bushes first. A thorough inspection will entail looking at the mounting points and every other joint that has a bush. Since the car has a myriad of cushioning joints, only a thorough inspection will reveal the problem. For example, loose stabiliser bars lead to a loss of alignment as a result of the leaning body. If the stabiliser bar is not broken, you will only need to replace the bushing.

Types of Bushes

Cars have many types of bushes. Before you plan to replace a worn out bush, it is vital to identify the type that is present, which will depend on the model of the vehicle. The following are some of the most common types of bushes.

Anti-roll Bar Bushes

Vehicles come with a vast array of bushes. Some bushings are easier to replace than others. The most commonly replaced bushings are the anti-roll bar types since the anti-roll bars are always twisting. The techniques used when replacing the anti-roll bar bushes vary from model to model. A reputable mechanic will have the knowledge as well as the specialist tools required to press the bushes during the removal process. Some anti-roll bars come with several bushes. The mechanic will remove the entire anti-roll bar in the quest to identify the worn out bushes. In some vehicles, you can replace the bushes without removing the entire anti-roll bar from the car.

Modern Bushes

In the older models, parts with grease fittings require regular lubrication. Once the parts dry out, they can be a source of noises and squeaks. Modern bushes, on the other hand, come with permanent lubrication tubes that eliminate the need for regular greasing. As such, modern bushes are quite easy to maintain. The bushings in these parts are encased in a metal tube. Once these bushes wear out, you have to replace the entire part to avoid the squeaking noises. Modern bushes can help you to lower the cost of maintenance since they save on labour, as well as the greasing. In addition, they will serve you well for several years.

Some bushes are easy to replace while others will require special knowledge and specialist tools. If you want your tyres to last longer, ensure that you maintain proper alignment in your vehicle. The best way to maintain the proper alignment is to replace your suspension bump stops often.

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