From the factory, your BMW was designed to provide exceptional performance and handling in all types of conditions. With age and mileage, key suspension components such as control arm bushings, tie rods, ball joints, sway bar links and wheel bearings begin to wear and lose their effectiveness. Over time, your BMW will loose some of its key handling characteristics. As a driver, you may begin to notice front-end vibrations or shimmying, you may hear a distinct “clunk” when going over road humps or hitting one of many of Austin’s pot-holes. These are indicators that your BMW’s suspension needs attention.
At German Auto Center, one of the most common suspension issues that we see is worn or failed control arm bushings. The control arm bushings on your BMW take most of the force during braking, cornering and heavy acceleration. These forces can be extreme and cause the rubber bushings to fatigue and crack. Other components such as wheel bearings, ball joints and sway bar links should be inspected at the same time. Although failure of these components are less frequent, control arm bushings left unchecked will put additional stress on other suspension components such as ball joints, tie rods and sway bar links leading to excessive and premature tire wear.
Whether you drive a BMW model 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, M, X or Z series, you should have German Auto Center inspect your suspension after 40,000 miles. German Auto Center will inspect your suspension components at no charge to ensure your BMW is performing as it is designed and is safe on the road.
If you are feeling a vibration or shimmy from your BMW’s front-end, there are a few simple inspections that you can do.
Control Arm Bushings – If you are feeling a vibration or shimmy, visually inspect the control arm bushings (at the inboard end of the control arm where it mounts to the chassis) for cracks, leaks or missing pieces of rubber. At low speeds you may hear a clunking noise when traveling over a speed bump, road hump or similar object.
Control Arm Ball Joint – Using an appropriate sized pry bar pry between the control arm and the spindle to determine if there is any play in the ball joint or where the ball joint is pressed into the control arm. There should be no movement vertically or laterally.
Sway Bar Links – Visually inspect the links connecting the sway bar to the control arms. These may be rubber or may have a hyme or ball joint style connection. If your BMW has rubber bushings, look for cracking or failure of the bushings. If your BMW has hyme or ball joint style links, look for any play or movement in the joint.
Tie Rods – Tie rods are the components that connect the steering rack to the hub or spindle on your BMW. These components can be visually inspected for excessive movement or play by grasping a tire and rocking it fore and aft. While some is rocking the tire, visually watch the inner and outer tie rod ends for any movement or play.
These are just a few simple tips and inspections that you can do to visually inspect your BMWs critical suspension components. If you drive a BMW, Mercedes Benz, Audi, Porsche, Mini Cooper or Volkswagen and have any questions, please visit us at www.germanautocenter.com, call us at 512.452.6437 or stop by and visit with us at 8215 Research Blvd, Austin Texas, 78758. We look forward to seeing you.
Have a question about your luxury automobile or does your model need special work? Please ask using the comment box below on our German Auto Center Facebook page and one of our experts will reply! German Auto Center is owned and operated by Len Gilmore.