With age and mileage, critical suspension components such as control arm bushings, thrust rods, tie rods, ball joints, sway bar links and wheel bearings begin to wear and loose their effectiveness. Over time, your Mercedes Benz will loose some of its key handling characteristics.
As a driver, you may begin to hear “creaking” noises and/or notice front-end vibrations or shimmying, when going over road humps or hitting one of many of Austin’s pot-holes. These are indicators that your Mercedes Benz’s suspension needs attention.
At German Auto Center, one of the most common suspension issues that we see is worn or failed control arm or thrust arm bushings (thrust arms are the forward facing control arm). The control arm bushings on your Mercedes Benz 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 causing a front-end vibration or shimmy. Signs of failure are common and are often accompanied with a “creaking” noise from the suspension. 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 Mercedes Benz model C, E, S, SL, G, or M 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 Mercedes Benz is performing as it is designed and is safe on the road.
If you are feeling a vibration or shimmy from your Mercedes Benz front-end, there are a few simple inspections that you can do.
Control Arm (Thrust 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. Additionally inspect the forward facing thrust arm for similar signs of wear. Listen for a “creaking” noise coming from the suspension while driving at low speeds.
Ball Joints – 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 ball joint style connection. If your Mercedes Benz has rubber bushings, look for cracking or failure of the bushings. If your Mercedes Benz has 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 Mercedes Benz. 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 Mercedes Benz critical suspension components. If you drive a Mercedes Benz, BMW, 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.