Before we dig any deeper into this delicate topic, let’s just get a better understanding of what a control arm exactly is. Although lots of people know what it does and how it works, many do not. The short and simple answer is that a control arm, also called an A-arm, is a crucial component in the automobile’s suspension. It’s a hinged suspension link located between the chassis and the suspension upright or hub which carries the car’s wheel. One end of the control arm is usually fixed, with the other, inboard end attached via a single pivot, most commonly a rubber bushing, to the hub.
What Are Control Arms
Control arms are generally reliable and durable parts which require no replacement for the majority of a car’s life. After a certain period however, they can let go, just like any other car component. The control arms are prone to breaking on impact, especially if you hit them directly with a kerb or a big rock. They’re located just behind the car’s wheels, and the front lower control arms are usually the main victim. Without any accidents or impacts, a control arm should last you a very long time, but having it replaced if it’s for some reason worn out is not a bad idea.
Generally speaking, replacement control arms are not that expensive. Naturally, it all depends on the manufacturer and model, and if you want an OEM product or if you’re willing to go for an aftermarket one. The original equipment manufacturer (OEM) products are usually more expensive, but then again they were designed for your particular model in mind, so you know what you’re getting. Lots of people choose to go down the AEM route however, simply because the products are just as good, if not better than OEM.
There are plenty of control arm manufacturers, some better than others, but the most popular ones seem to be Raybestos and Dorman. We can’t, and won’t categorize them because they produce products for different models, but for some, they’re direct rivals. We’ll go over the general traits and characteristics of each company, but bear in mind that they’re not always necessarily true. In majority of the cases, a lot of the points we’re going to discuss here are true.
Dorman Control Arm Review
Dorman produces, or used to produce, cheaper control arms. That’s not to say they were necessarily bad, they were just more affordable. Certain customers have directly compared Dorman to Raybestos and while they both preformed good, the Dorman seemed to have a few drawbacks. The welds weren’t as good as the Raybestos, and the quality of the control arm wasn’t up to par to that of the Raybestos. Once reading the posts and reviews on forums however, Dorman was quick to react, improving the quality of their products and listening to the feedback of the customers. This was greeted with a lot of positivity in the community. This solved a lot of the issues people had with boots ripping open and pressed ball joints popping out. A few lemons can still be found, but Dorman is kind enough to replace them under warranty.
Raybestos Control Arm Review
Raybestos seems to be the more well-known company between the two. In the past, their products were a lot more expensive than Dorman’s, and we’re talking twice as expensive here. Today however, they’re practically the same, price-wise. Fitment of the Raybestos is easy and simple, and is one of the strong points for buying them. The only issues people reported were that hold-down locking nuts were not included in the kit, although they were displayed in the advertised picture. This isn’t a major problem as you can easily source them yourself, but if you’re concerned about it, make sure to talk to Raybestos before ordering your control arm and they’ll be sure to include them.
It comes down to personal preference really. As companies, they’re both solid, reputable manufacturers of quality components. If you have a favorite, go with your instinct, you can’t go wrong with either. Make sure to read reviews on the exact part which fits your needs, as they can vary from model to model. Dorman is better for certain applications, with Raybestos taking the cake elsewhere. Both offer decent warranties, so if anything breaks, they have you covered.