One of the most sensitive suspension components are metal-rubber bushings. Their wear deteriorates the driving characteristics and means problems with passing the technical examination. New bushings are not expensive, so it’s not worth looking for the cheapest substitutes.
Car suspension must ensure safe and predictable handling and as high a ride comfort as possible. The majority of unpleasant vibrations are absorbed by metal-rubber bushings, which can be found, among others in stabilizer links, shock absorber mounts and swingarm arms. A properly selected rubber compound absorbs shocks, but deforms to a minimal extent so that the suspension geometry does not change momentarily.
The sleeves wear naturally when driving on uneven surfaces. Over time, the rubber between metal elements hardens and becomes more and more brittle. In a car with worn suspension bushes, the wheels make uncontrolled movements. Of course, their range is small, but a few millimeters unplanned by the manufacturer is enough to spoil the precision of cornering and make it difficult to maintain the direction of travel.
Suspension sleeves are interchangeable on many models. A hydraulic press may be required to squeeze out old elements and press in new ones. It is worth verifying before we start the demolition of the chassis in the garage. If the design of the swingarm allows you to replace the sleeve, it is not worth forcing to look for savings and reach for the cheapest substitutes of dubious quality. Original sleeves and brand substitutes do not cost a fortune – many elements cost a dozen or several dozen zlotys. Inserting a high-quality sleeve usually means peace for at least tens of thousands of kilometers. In the cheapest substitutes, there may be loose quickly.
It is worth knowing that standard bushings can be replaced with equivalents with different parameters. Even car builders decide on such a solution – sporty variants or stronger engine versions often receive bushings with increased rigidity. By inserting them in the car, you can improve driving precision.
An alternative is the accessory polyurethane bushings. Many companies offer bushings in at least two stiffnesses, which makes them easier to adapt to individual needs. However, it should be remembered that a harder sleeve increases the load on many suspension components. If they are not in good condition, they can be damaged. Even cases of swingarms are known.
After the suspension has been repaired, it is advisable to check and, if necessary, correct the suspension geometry. To avoid additional costs, the sleeves should be replaced in pairs. Theoretically, the metal-rubber elements of the right suspension are more exposed to mechanical wear – they take on the weight of climbing curbs or driving at the edge of the road, which is sometimes damaged and strewn with sewer wells. The rubber aging process proceeds at the same pace on the left and right. During it, the sleeves lose their original elasticity, which affects the car’s driving properties.