Suspension bushings are intended to balance the overall performance, responsiveness, and comfort of a car. However, over time, the stock bushing will be worn-out or cracked sooner or later. Aftermarket polyurethane bushings can mitigate the problem and restore your vehicle’s responsiveness, but you need to understand the tradeoff inherent in the upgrade.
Yes, due to the immense sources of information available today, the risk of individuals being deceived by advertising tactics has diminished, although it’s still not guaranteed. Getting straightforward responses to queries can be challenging if you rely on the pamphlet alone.
Think about polyurethane bushings as one example. Manufacturers will claim that these bushings will universally and substantially improve your automobile’s handling and performance, but is that always true? Perhaps not. Some disadvantages will exist like any other mod you integrate into your car.
Even though polyurethane bushings have many beneficial properties, they can be detrimental in certain situations. Before swapping out your automobile’s bushings with them, evaluate the pros and cons of polyurethane bushings. We are happy to help you with this.
Understanding the Role of Suspension Bushings
There is a common tendency among people to overlook a minor suspension part like the bushings. However, in reality, the role of suspension bushings is far more profound than you can anticipate. So, before focusing on the pros and cons of polyurethane bushings, let’s earn some basic knowledge.
To work on the general target demographic of car owners, most automobile manufacturers design their vehicles with enhanced functionality in mind. Even if you prefer a reasonably quick commute, you will want comfort and safety at your fingertips during your drive. In the end, that’s what matters most to your average Joe.
Noise, vibration, and harshness are chief factors influencing ride comfort. This means how loud a car is and how much vibration you feel once you step on the pedals. In addition, how well the car eats up gear changes and other unpleasant side effects of driving are all considerations concerning the driver’s overall comfort.
Carmakers apply several techniques to eliminate the noise, vibration, and harshness of a car. One of their primary approaches is to introduce a damping component between the source of the vibration and the passenger compartment.
Suspension bushings just work as that dampening element as they have an inherent capability to absorb vibrations and noise and reduce friction. Hence, these bushings are placed at all points of a car where two metal or other parts come into direct contact.
What Are Polyurethane Bushings?
Generally, cars come with rubber bushings from the factory. Rubber is a remarkable material for engineering purposes, but there are a few drawbacks: it reacts with oxygen, it degrades in temperatures over 250 degrees Celsius, and it partially breaks down in the water.
Polyurethane, an alternative to rubber used in its place, is firmer and more durable under pressure. The properties of different types of polyurethane used in the automotive industry vary, but most can resist the forces that suspension components exert on them.
This type of bushing is often better than rubber when it comes to addressing stressful environments encountered by intense driving. Unaffected by cold or heat, these bushings might last for the vehicle’s lifetime and only require periodic replacement if the automobile is totaled, wholly wrecked, or subjected to immense abuse. For this reason, many high-performance vehicles rely upon polyurethane instead of rubber.
Pros And Cons Of Polyurethane Bushings
Now it’s time to pay attention to the key matter. So, what are the pros and cons of polyurethane bushings? We have pointed them out in different sections below for your greater understanding. Let’s have a look.
Pros Of Polyurethane Bushings
Polyurethane bushings were not used widely for the auto industry and the track until the 1930s. Anyone who needs to upgrade their suspension will find that polyurethane bushings are a solid choice that can last. Here are some of the reasons why.
- Superior Performance
When it’s about suspension parts, especially the bushings, performance is one of the primary concerns. Therefore, we’re going to start by looking at polyurethane’s performance on suspension bushings.
According to the durometer rating, the hardness of polyurethane is quite higher than its rubber counterpart. This means you can hardly make it deform, and it has a much more rigid surface.
Polyurethane’s increased longer-term strength makes it a better solution for maintaining balance and proper alignment of suspension parts. Polyurethane is more commonly applied to suspension components, which means reduced body roll in the corners and increased torque application into the ground.
- Longer Lifespan
Temporary stress is not too traumatic for any type of bushing. However, this perception can change in the long term. Over time, after those countless driving sessions, your suspension bushings encounter many things.
These can be worn-out lubricants, heat, chemicals, specks of dust, and other road debris that eat up rubber bushings gradually. Polyurethane’s high resistance to ultraviolet light, road salt, and other liquids that cause oxidation helps it retains its integrity for many years.
- Easy Installation
The OE rubber bushings contained inside a metal sleeve must undergo a hydraulic press in order to be taken out, and special tools are required to install them. On the other hand, polyurethane bushings can be installed with simple tools and little effort.
Since polyurethane bushings can be installed easily, replacing the old bushings can be done at a much lower cost. Once you have figured out how to remove the old rubber bushing, installation is a fast and uncomplicated process. There are also methods for removing OE bushings using heat that is accomplished very easily without additional equipment.
Cons Of Polyurethane Bushings
Polyurethane bushings are great to have, yet they have drawbacks as well. Now we will take a look at the disadvantages of Polyurethane bushings.
- More Pronounced Road Impacts
The main downside to using polyurethane brake pads is that they provide hard rides and make road hardships more obvious. Many people say that the increased levels of vibrations are tedious after a while.
You will most likely feel more of what’s going on underneath your car, which can be tiresome if you’ve driven more. There are a variety of polyurethane formulas to select from.
- Squeaking Noise
Typically, one of the most common complaints regarding poly bushings is that they create squeaking noise. It’s not really accurate to assume that the squeak is specific to the poly bushing, as it is an issue of insufficient lubrication during installation. Poly bushing manufacturers typically command users to condition a new bushing with grease.
Rubber bushings will not squeak because a chemical process bonds the bushing and the bushing shell. The poly bushing does not utilize a metallic housing and instead integrates with it through a floaty design. Since plastic and metal are detached, if there’s no lubrication, the result is squeaking, which most people find annoying.
- Requires Maintenance
As we already mentioned, poly bushings tend to squeak if they’re not appropriately lubricated. You may think nothing of having made a quick application of grease to keep your polyurethane bushings squeak-free, though it keeps things running smoothly over the long term. In fact, the more your bushings are greased, the less likely you are to experience squeaking.
The design of poly bushings has diversified over time, and some manufacturers will continue to warranty their service with poly bushings if they have their poly bushings coated appropriately upon installation. You must use the correct type of grease for poly bushings because it is essential to ensure they’re properly greased.
Should You Opt for Polyurethane Bushings?
How you intend to use your vehicle is the most significant factor regarding whether polyurethane suspension bushings are best for it or not. If your vehicle requires you to use polyurethane bushings, it’s worth knowing whether this will boost your ride or merely enhance your maintenance expenses.
Once again, it all boils down to how poor the old setup is and how the alternative solution addresses the issue. In other words, polyurethane bushings are going to have more of an impact on specific jobs than others.
Take advantage of polyurethane bushings if you want the most performance possible. Although other factors may be present, they can easily help improve performance. Keep in mind that a little effort can go a long way.
Likewise, if you’re on track to look at altering other suspension components, such as the shock absorbers, springs, and control arms, replacing the bushes will ensure you get the most from performance improvements.
However, when you always prefer having a more soothing and comfortable driving experience, it’s good to avoid polyurethane bushings. But indeed, if you can sacrifice your comfort, the lifespan, performance, ease of installation, and overall cost of polyurethane bushings will be worth your investment.