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Top 5 Telltale Signs of Damaged Subframe Bushings

Is your classic car acting up as of late? Does it produce weird noises at every bump or turn? Is it hard to steer or difficult to handle? Does it threaten to pull you off the road every time you hit the brakes?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of the above questions, chances are your subframe bushings are completely shot. But, how can you be certain that’s the issue, other than taking your vehicle to an Orange County chassis and subframe service? We'll be answering this question in the following guide. Read on!

How do you know when your subframe bushings are bad?

Bushings serve a very specific purpose in your car. They absorb vibrations and reduce noise while driving, but also control the amount of movement in the joints. So, as they deteriorate and lose functionality, you’ll experience a few side effects while driving:

  • Clunking or rattling noises when going over bumps or driving on rough roads;

  • Very faint clicking noise at 20 mph – 30 mph (extremely hard to notice);

  • Weird, unnatural alignment;

  • Loose steering and/or poor handling;

  • Sudden pull to the side when braking.

Be advised, though, that these “symptoms” don’t necessarily mean the bushings are shot. A variety of other problems can cause similar effects. Therefore, don’t rely on the above signs only. A much better option is to perform a visual inspection.

Fortunately, this is quite easy to do:

  1. Pop the hood, start the engine, and start turning the steering wheel, while keeping an eye on the engine. If the engine starts moving from side to side, it means bushings are done.

  2. Place a car jack under each corner of the subframe. Gently raise them, one at a time. If you notice that the subframe is rising, but not the rest of the car, it’s a certain sign of shot bushings.

Of course, the absolute best way to know is to take your vehicle to a certified mechanic and have them do a full inspection.

When should you replace your bushings?

At a glance, bushing damage seems like a minor issue. However, it’s anything but. Failure of this car part can wreak havoc on the attached components. Left unattended, it can cause damage to the subframe, which can lead to a whole array of problems.

Therefore, it’s imperative to regularly inspect the bushings and replace them the moment you notice the signs of wear. Otherwise, you risk having to fix or completely replace the subframe.

What causes bushings to go bad?

Although an important component, a bushing is still just a piece of rubber. As such, they’re susceptible to the standard rubber “ailments.” They can harden and crack due to high heat, or twist and tear from usage.

Is it safe to drive with busted bushings?

Driving with bad bushings is a safety hazard, to put it plain and simple. It can cause a variety of problems, some of which can seriously endanger the integrity of your car. More importantly, they can jeopardize your safety and the safety of other drivers. So, no matter how minor the damage seems, it’s a risk you shouldn’t take.

How much does it cost to replace the bushings on a car?

When it comes to bushings, there’s no “one size fits all.” Therefore, the cost will vary based on the make and model of your car. As a general guideline, you’re looking at anywhere between $150 and $500 (labor included). Although this seems a bit steep, it certainly beats having to straighten or weld an entire subframe, which can cost thousands.

Where can I find the best Orange County chassis and subframe services?

When it comes to classic car maintenance, there’s one place that rises above all others – Chimera Motors. Do you need service, repair, or full restoration? Our experienced technicians will be happy to oblige. Do you want more enjoyable cruises through San Joaquin Hills? We’ll boost the performance of your car and make the interior more comfortable.

Do you want it to endure the test of time? Bring your vintage beauty to us for a complete makeover and modernization. Contact us today, book an appointment, and make sure your ride gets the best care Orange County has to offer.


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