What Are Suspension Bushes?

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 3 months ago

5 min read

  • Suspension
  • How it works
Suspension bushes

WhoCanFixMyCar explains what suspension bushes are and what they do.

The suspension system determines how comfortable your car is. One way it does this is by using bushes to control road vibrations. This guide explains the significance of suspension bushes, how they work, and how to tell when they need replacing.

Contents

What are car suspension bushes?

What are suspension bushes made from?

How long do suspension bushes last?

What happens when suspension bushes wear out?

Common suspension bush problems

Can you drive with worn suspension bushes?

Are worn suspension bushes an MOT failure?

How much does it cost to replace suspension bushes?


What are car suspension bushes?

Suspension bushes are small rubber parts fitted to the suspension system to minimise road vibrations, ensuring a smooth ride. They prevent metal-on-metal contact while allowing some movement between components. Sometimes, suspension bushes are referred to as mountings or bushings.

Types of suspension bushes

Suspension bushes

There are various types of suspension bushes to suit different vehicles. Control links, for instance, are usually manufactured for trains and used in other industrial sectors to fight against traction and braking forces.

Rubber bushings are commonly used in road vehicles. You can find them on:

  • Control arms

  • Strut mounts

  • Shock absorbers

  • Stabiliser bars

  • Tie rods

  • Ball joints

  • Engine and gearbox mounts

  • Chassis connection points

Find out more about suspension components in this guide.


What are suspension bushes made from?

As discussed above, suspension bushes are often made from rubber but can also be made from polyurethane. They might be hollow, solid, or oil-filled. Since they experience a lot of strain, they sometimes feature a metal outer ring made of a tougher compound like aluminium or steel.


How long do suspension bushes last?

Suspension bushes wear out for several reasons, including old age and oil leaks from the engine, which can affect the rubber compound and reduce its lifespan. There are no guidelines about how long suspension bushes last because the time frame varies depending on how and where you drive. Travelling over many bumpy roads will make them wear out faster.


What happens when suspension bushes wear out?

When a suspension bush wears out, it allows excessive movement and metal-on-metal contact between two other parts, causing them to wear down more quickly. The result of this is often a much less comfortable ride.

How to check your suspension bushes

Since there is no recommended replacement interval for bushes, you have to look out for signs that they are worn, which might include:

Unfortunately, these symptoms could indicate a variety of suspension-related problems. The best way to check your bushes is to have a mechanic inspect them.


Common suspension bush problems

Low performance and comfort

When suspension bushes wear out, your car usually becomes less comfortable because the bushes can no longer absorb shocks and vibrations from the road. They can also cause other parts to fail prematurely, leading to a drop in performance.

Rapid tyre wear

Man's hand pointing at car tyre tread.

Accelerated tyre wear can often be attributed to a steering or suspension problem. Worn bushings can negatively impact wheel alignment because they allow excessive movement, resulting in unevenly or excessively worn tyres.

This guide discusses the importance of wheel alignment.

Steering issues

Your steering may feel loose or heavy when your suspension bushes are worn. Loose steering means the steering wheel feels looser or lighter in your hands; as you turn, your steering goes further than expected. Conversely, heavy steering means that it is more difficult to turn the wheel.

Find out how a car's steering works.

Inconsistent braking

Worn bushings can affect the forward and backward movement of the control arm during braking. You may not feel the effects every time you brake, but they do make braking less stable and consistent and, therefore, more dangerous.

Here are five brake problems you shouldn't ignore.


Can you drive with worn suspension bushes?

It isn’t a good idea to drive with worn suspension bushes if you can avoid it. When they wear out, they often lead to steering problems—such as the steering feeling heavier or looser—which can be dangerous. Driving is also much less comfortable when the suspension bushes need replacing.


Are worn suspension bushes an MOT failure?

Suspension bushes impact a vehicle's safety, so you won’t be surprised to hear that excessive wear is a major defect that will result in an MOT failure. If the bushes are so worn that they are likely to become detached, this is a dangerous defect.

Full service and MOT image

Find out more about common MOT fails in this guide.


How much does it cost to replace suspension bushes?

Various factors impact the cost of a suspension bush replacement. These include the make and model of your car, the type of bush that needs replacing, the extent of the damage, and labour costs. Replacing the suspension arm, which includes a bush, is sometimes more cost-effective than removing and replacing the individual part due to the labour costs involved.

Whenever you book a suspension repair, having your car’s wheel alignment checked afterwards and adjusted if necessary is a good idea for safety reasons.


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Written by Ellie

Ellie Author Pic

Ellie is WhoCanFixMyCar’s Content Writer. She has a BA in English literature from Durham University, a master’s degree in creative writing, and three years of experience writing in the automotive industry. She currently drives a Suzuki Swift.

Find Ellie on LinkedIn.