When to Replace Upper Control Arms on Trucks and SUVs

When to Replace Upper Control Arms on Trucks and SUVs

What Do Control Arms Do?

Responsible for maintaining control and alignment while allowing for the up and down travel of the suspension system while you’re driving, control arms are key for maintaining your vehicle’s directional stability, torque and traction. The control arm connects your vehicle’s wheels to the frame and helps maintain proper wheel alignment and movement to improve overall handling. Control arms have a direct effect on wheel travel, suspension durability and wheel alignment.

Types of Control Arms

There are two main types of control arms – Original Equipment (OE) replacement and performance. An OE replacement arm will have the same shape and geometry as the arm your vehicle came with. A performance arm will use different shape and geometry to change the alignment, and often use different material and design for increased strength. There are situations when it may be wise to upgrade to a performance control arm. c

When to Replace Control Arms

While control arms are key to the performance of your vehicle when driving around town, they take on increased importance when off-roading and driving over rough terrain. The most common reason to replace the upper control arms is in conjunction with installing a lift kit or larger tires, or when making any suspension modification. Making changes to your vehicle’s suspension can impact its geometry. When you install a lift kit, the OE control arms can lose their ability to handle the clearance and alignment changes that come with lifting or modifying a vehicle’s suspension. The upper control arm moves farther down and can rub against other suspension components while larger tires can rub on the upper control arms. In addition, the ball joint may bind and fail or cause damage to the steering knuckle. Upgrading the control arms to handle the new lifted geometry of your vehicle can help alleviate all of these situations. If you don’t update the control arms, you may experience:


  • Bad wheel alignment
  • Premature tire wear
  • Premature wear or damage to ball joints and bushings.
  • Poor handling and performance

Advantages of Installing Performance Control Arms

Replacing your stock control arms with aftermarket performance control arms is a modification that enhances your vehicle’s overall performance. Aftermarket upper control arms realign the suspension geometry to and improve camber and caster to ensure that your truck is aligned correctly after a lift is installed.


  • Improves wheel travel – The vertical distance that a vehicle’s wheels can move, wheel travel is especially important for trucks and SUVs that are used for off-roading. An aftermarket control arm increases the wheel travel of the vehicle, keeping it as level as possible when travelling over rough terrain.
  • Enhances ride performance – Upgrading the control arms improves the flex, droop and off-road capabilities of the vehicle. A new performance control arm can handle the different suspension angles that comes with a lifted vehicle.
  • Strengthens suspension – Off-roading places stress on suspension components, and a stronger control arm can handle the rigors of the trail. Replacing the stock control arms with an aftermarket control arm designed for lifted vehicles will not only last longer but will help to strengthen the entire suspension system.

Rancho® Adjustable Control Arms

Rancho performance upper control arms enhance the performance and durability of your level or lifted truck or SUV. Rancho control arms keep the ball joint in the proper angle and provide additional wheel travel and caster to aid in alignment compared to factory control arms on lifted applications. Made of heavy-duty tubing, the direct fit, bolt-on design comes with all necessary hardware for easy installation. Each control arm features OE-style rubber bushings for a maintenance free, smooth comfortable ride and preinstalled, replaceable ball joints. Maintaining the control arms is easy, thanks to ball joint zerk fittings for easy maintenance and quiet operation.
Part Number Location Application
RS64302 Front Upper 2019-2021 Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra 1500
RS64501 Front Upper 2009-2020 Ford F-150
RS64901 Front Upper 2005-2021 Toyota Tacoma
RS64902 Front Upper 2021-2007 Toyota Tundra
RS64903 Front Upper 2003-2021 Toyota 4Runner, 2007-2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser
RS64404 Front Upper 2019-2021 Ram 1500 DT (coming Oct. 2021)
RS64511 Front Upper 2021 Ford F-150 (coming Feb. 2022)

Learn more about performance control arm kits, find your performance suspension part, or find where to buy your shock or suspension part today.

The content in this article is for informational purposes only. You should consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have questions relating to any of the topics covered herein. Tenneco will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.