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Idler Arm

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Idler Arm

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What is an idler arm and where is it located?

An idler arm is a steering component in vehicles with parallelogram steering, i.e. those that use a center link. An idler arm assembly is not present in vehicles that use rack and pinion steering. The idler arm works in concert with the pitman arm to allow the center link to move and in turn move the tie rods and steer the wheels of the vehicle. The pitman arm is turned by the steering box and moves the center link left and right. The idler arm keeps the center link tracking correctly on the other side and keeps it parallel to the road. For this reason, the idler arm is bolted to the frame on the passenger side. It attaches to a hole in the center link via a ball joint or a tapered end. If this connection becomes worn or loose, you may start to experience steering problems which could cause havoc on the roads. For your own safety and the safety of other drivers, it’s best to replace steering parts sooner rather than later. 

How do I know if my idler arm needs to be replaced?

Idler arms are built to be sturdy, but they spend a lot of time literally hanging out underneath your vehicle. That's where they can be exposed to dirt, road salt, and other rough conditions that can cause wear and tear, and connections to become loose. If the idler arm starts to wear, you may experience a loss of steering responsiveness, wandering steering, or shimmy in your front end.  A worn idler arm can also cause uneven tire wear.

One way to test your idler arm assembly is to try to turn the steering wheel while the car is parked. If you can turn the steering wheel a significant amount without meeting resistance, this can be a sign of a bad idler arm. Alternatively, you could raise the front end on to jack stands and try to move the wheels. If you can move the wheels any significant amount without the steering wheel moving, this can indicate a worn idler arm. 

Of course, some of these problems can be caused by failures in other steering components, so it may be wise to check the condition of all steering parts if you are experiencing steering problems. 

Can I replace an idler arm myself?

Although it will take some time and effort, it is possible for you to replace your own idler arm assembly.  A specialty tool called a pickle fork may make this process a little easier. 

To replace the idler arm, you’ll have to raise the front end onto jack stands and unbolt the idler arm from the frame. This will cause the center link to drop. If you have to replace the pitman arm as well, do so before continuing with the idler arm. Then disconnect the old idler arm from the center link. Reverse this process to install the new one. Afterwards, you’ll want to have a professional alignment done.

Need an idler arm replacement?

If you are in need of an idler arm replacement due to experiencing some sloppy steering, then you have come to the right place. At 1A Auto, you will find aftermarket idler arms for many makes and models, at great prices. Our replacements are just what you need to ensure the safety and integrity of your vehicle's suspension and steering.

At 1A Auto, we make shopping for an idler arm replacement for your vehicle easy - we're here to help you select the right part! Call our customer service toll free at 888-844-3393 if you have any questions about our idler arms, warranty, compatibility or to purchase, or you can buy online.

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