Rear Axle Control Arms and Links

Rear axle control arms.

Older cars and many modern trucks and SUVs have solid drive axles. These axles are held in place and prevented from excess movement with control arms, strut rods, and track bars. Due to their design and small contact area on the chassis, coil spring suspension systems usually require more control arms and links than other types.

Control arms that are fastened to the body by a large rubber bushing and extend back to the axle ahead of the wheel are considered trailing control arms and control arms that are fastened to the body and extend forward toward the axle are leading control arms.

Drive axles swivel up and down with acceleration and also move side to side as the driver negotiates turns. This side to side movement is controlled with a track bar installed in a lateral direction along the axle.

If a squeak is heard in the rear of the vehicle, inspect the control arm and track bar bushings for wear. They’re typically one piece bushings made of natural or neoprene rubber. Replace the bushing or the entire control arm, track bar, or strut rod if excessive wear or damage is found.