You can’t drive your BMW with a faulty control arm. It will be a risk both to you and others on the road. Irrespective of your state or country, driving with a failing control arm will get you into legal trouble. So, how much does a bmw control arm replacement cost?
The control arms in your BMW are a complex assembly of many parts. If you need to replace the whole system, costs can crawl up to 700 dollars. However, the bill would be much lighter if you simply had to change the bushings or ball joints. Plus, other factors can influence the cost too.
A money-grabbing shop can easily trick the naive BMW owner into paying thousands of dollars for a control arm replacement. The following discussion teaches you how to avoid that.
Signs You Might Need A BMW Control Arm Replacement
The control arms connect your BMW’s main frame and its wheels. Therefore, the most apparent sign of control arm failure is that your car and its wheels feel out of sync. You will need to consider a control arm replacement if the vehicle starts showing these signs-
Your car will make unusual noises when it needs a control arm replacement. These can be popping, rattling, or clunking sounds.
The noises become more apparent when you drive your car over a speed breaker or similar irregularities. You may also hear them when accelerating or decelerating.
A failing arm manifests in the steering in two ways. Firstly, the steering wheel itself can feel loose.
Sometimes, the wheel will become incapable of returning to the center. You might also experience a vibrating steering wheel if the control arm’s ball bearings have worn out.
Secondly, you won’t be able to control or align your vehicle properly. For instance, driving in a straight line will become difficult.
Sometimes, the vehicle will uncontrollably wander off to the left or right. These challenges become more apparent on bumpy, uneven roads.
Abnormal Tire Wear
Control arm issues cause misalignment of the wheels. This means the road impacts don’t distribute properly among the tires.
So, you will see that tires have worn out unevenly across their treads. It also means you will have to change tires before their expected lifespan.
Average cost of control arm replacement on a BMW (source)
The average cost of replacing a single control arm is 150-200$. However, your BMW might have two or four control arms, depending on the model type.
If you need to replace the whole system (like after an accident), the total prices of parts and labor increase multiple folds. In that case, you can expect the bill to be around 600-700$.
|BMW Generation||Control Arm Replacement Cost (one arm plus labor cost)||Comments|
|BMW E21||150$||BMW E21 offers first-generation models like 320 and 320i. The designs date back to 1975. These models have a unique single-control parallel arm (right and left). Each one costs 50-60$.|
|BMW E30||200$||Models in the BMW E30 generation include 325i, 325is, and 325ix. These are cars from the eighties. Individually, the control arm costs 100$.|
|BMW E36||150$||BMW manufactured these vehicles from the nineties to 2000. The 328i is a popular example. Each arm is priced at 49$|
|BMW E46||150$||The 4th generation of BMW 3 series ranged from the late nineties to the mid-2000s. 330i was one of the last models to hit the roads. The price of one control arm is around 50$|
|BMW E90||150$.||The last addition to the BMW 3 series fifth generation was the 335i. The price of the control arm ranges from around fifty dollars.|
|BMW F30/F31/F34||150$||The sixth generation in the BMW 3 series ran from 2011-2019. The last addition was the model 340i.|
|BMW G20/G21/G28||200$||The latest addition to BMW’s G20 generation is the M340i. These cars have been around since 2018.|
|BMW M Versions||170$||M stands for Motorsport. So, the M-badged BMW cars have modified engines and aerodynamics. The latest models include M5, M6, X6M, and others. Individual control arm costs around 70$ for M versions.|
The costs in this table are mostly speculative. For instance, in ninety percent of cases, you won’t be able to replace just one arm.
Because one failing arm means the others are about to follow suit. Plus, you must consider the price of ball joints, bushings, and fasteners.
Factors affecting the cost of control arm replacement on a BMW
Control arm replacements are very important for safe driving. However, you probably don’t want to blow a hole in your wallet on those repairs. So, consider these factors that can affect the cost of a replacement job-
Degree of damage
If multiple arms need replacement, the price of the parts will add up and cost you more. Also, most control arm damages occur after a collision or accident. So, there might be other repairs you need to take care of.
You can find the bushings between the control arm and the vehicle frame. They need to be replaced alongside the arms if they are worn out. Otherwise, it will directly affect the tire alignment of your BMW. So, this can cost you a few extra bucks.
Control arm replacement isn’t an easy task. So, you probably have to take the car to an auto mechanic. Labor costs vary widely across repair services.
Some shops will charge as much as 250$ for labor costs. Meanwhile, many places are willing to do the same job for 90-100$.
Tips for reducing the cost of control arm replacement
We can give you some tips to reduce the control arm replacement of your BMW easily. Nonetheless, repair costs can still overwhelm you in the unfortunate event of a road accident. Otherwise, the following tips can help you save significantly:
- Choose a mid-level mechanic who doesn’t charge unreasonable labor costs.
- Don’t buy the parts from the mechanic because they will charge you more. Instead, do a little online research and buy from shops that offer low retail prices.
- You can buy BMW-compatible control arm kits from other manufacturers. They will cost way less than the original BMW parts. Although BMW recommends against this practice.
- Hard brakes and driving recklessly on rough roads damage your Control arm. So, avoid these practices to prevent replacement in the first place.
The discussion so far might have been able to answer some of your questions regarding the BMW control arm replacement. However, we are always happy to answer if you have more.
Can I replace the control arm myself to save on labor costs?
If you have the experience and tools, you can do it yourself to save a couple of hundred bucks. Otherwise, it’s not worth the risk and effort.
You must safely jack up the vehicle, remove tires, unbolt and revolt parts, etc. So, it’s a lot of hassle unless you are an auto-repair enthusiast.
How often do BMW control arms need replacement?
You can expect control arm damage after driving around 100,000 miles. But this lifespan can significantly be reduced if you often drive on bumpy, rough roads. Also, consider the bushings and ball joints can go bad before the control arm does.
Is it necessary to replace both control arms at the same time?
Yes, most often, it is smart to replace both arms simultaneously. Control arms work in unison. So, one failing arm indicates the other has recently been subjected to undue stress. Which means it will require replacement very soon.
Can I use a control arm from a different model or year of BMW on my vehicle?
In most cases, you can’t. For instance, the first generation BMW has two single parallel control arms. Meanwhile, the cars that came afterward had four arms in total (front and rear). And as BMW consistently updates its vehicles with each passing model, the practice isn’t safe.
A bmw control arm replacement cost can be thousands of dollars if you aren’t careful. And we mean that from both aspects. Let go of rough and reckless driving habits.
Secondly, when you have no choice but to replace, choose a reasonable retail seller and a mid-level mechanic. That said, don’t try to take over the job on your own just to save some money.
If you fail to jack up the vehicle properly or neglect other safety practices, the consequences can be fatal. Even if you come out of there uninjured, you may face trouble later aligning your wheels on the road.
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