Tired of Aching Joints?
No I’m not here to espouse the benefits of Fish Oil, Kelp Oil or any other snake oil, but to offer the good oil on checking out your crucial joints around your vehicle.
Why? Because they are a consumable wear item like any other moving mechanical part.
But so often they get forgotten or dismissed unseen, because we’ve seen 20 year plus vehicles with original bushes still, however many people are surprised how effective a change or upgrade can be.
The moving joints around your vehicle suspension system are mostly made up of bushes using flexible material to allow movement foremost and subdue and insulate NVH second most.
NVH is an abbreviation for Noise, Vibration, Harshness.
Without such insulating components a vehicle running on metal to metal joints, such as rose joints, would be a mind-numbing cacophony of metal bits gnashing and grinding themselves to death.
The stuff of on and off-road race cars, not practical in everyday vehicles.
Most standard bushes around vehicles incorporate rubber sections often with inner metal sleeves or similar for more alignment and security. Rubber components are cost-effective and have a reasonable life span. However they will deteriorate and it is an area often overlooked in favour of shock absorbers and springs, and instead should be considered as part of an overall suspension improvement and maintenance regime.
Major improvements in handling and road feel can be attained from using quality polyurethane material instead of soft rubber.
There are nay-sayers when it comes to polyurethane who may comment of more rigidness and even wear issues. This is often a lack of aforesaid maintenance and experience with older materials. Modern materials have a better elasticity rating now than in the past, measured on a ‘durometer’ scale, and choosing the right quality components will in fact offer improvement of standard issue materials.
Many polyurethane bushes can forego the metal sleeves used in rubber given the accuracy and form of the polyurethane equivalent, therefore with appropriate lubrication and maintenance can offer significant improvement over rubber.
If you get inspired, jack up and safely secure your vehicle and then peer in amongst the very joints I refer to, trailing arm bushes, control arm bushes, sway bar bushes. With the suspension in an extended state it is quite easy to see normal rubber bushes tearing away at themselves as these bushes get older. There is no reversing this, and this deterioration creates the potential for significant associated component movement, such as the arms referred to. Similar to the effect of worn ball joints and tie-rod end joints, excessive movement can make achieving an accurate wheel alignment near impossible. Similarly some poor condition joints can create excessive body roll, cross-track movement when cornering, or poor braking through excessive movement under firm deceleration.
So poor condition bushes and joints can definitely impact on road handling and safety.
So the next time you have your vehicle serviced or consider a suspension upgrade, make sure the bushes dotted around your vehicle are part of that inspection and cost equation. You may well find issues not previously aware of, and with attendance to worn elements find the ride, stability and handling a whole lot better at minimal expense.
Having spent much time typing out this short note with the key-stroke actions of a foraging chicken, I must now go and rub a little organic fish eye snake oil across my aching knuckles.
Maintenance is key.
See you Outback,
Chris Blakemore is owner of FNB4WD in Mt Barker South Australia.
He’s passionate about delivering quality products with excellent personal service.
FNB4WD achieved a Top 25 place in the SA Fast Movers Awards 2013.
Staff continually research new products and develop their industry knowledge, in an effort to provide the best possible service. All work performed at FNB 4WD Supplies is performed by qualified technicians and experts in their own fields.