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I was driving home, heard a crunch, and then my entire steering wheel felt loose and turned a quarter turn to the left even though my car was still going straight.

I was about 10 feet from home so I finished the trip slowly.

Afterwards I looked under the front of the car and saw a broken part.

enter image description here

My car is a 2002 Hyundai Elantra and we've been considering the idea of getting rid of the car at the next major repair.

I don't know what this part is or how much it might be to repair it. We're about a quarter mile away from our regular repair shop.

My questions are:

  • What is this part?
  • What would the estimated repair for it be?
  • Would it be worth the tow to get it to the repair shop to fix?
  • Would you scrap the car over this considering it's age and the fact we're already thinking about it?

Thanks for any input!

UPDATE

If you run into this same issue, Hyundai had a recall on some 2001–2003 Vehicles Due to Corrosion on Front Lower Control Arms. Whether or not your car is covered under the recall depends on if the car's VIN falls into some unknown (at least to me) range.

My car wasn't covered, but if the same part breaks on your Elantra or Tiburon it's worth calling in to a dealer or going to Hyundai's repair site to check and see if yours is. Hopefully you'll have better luck than I did!

Thank's for the answers and comments. They helped a lot!

  • 1
    This damage is about as ugly as it comes. I've never seen a control arm break like that ... first time for everything, I guess. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Mar 17 '15 at 10:10
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You have severe case of corrosion. The part is called the lower control arm. Its function is to maintain the tire in the correct position.

Do not attempt to drive the vehicle. In the best case scenario you will cause more damage, the tire could hit the fender, the axle could separate or you can bend something else. In the worst case you kill someone when you lose control.

As far as repair is concerned, that depends on the condition of the rest of the vehicle. Have a trusted mechanic evaluate the rest of the vehicle prior to fixing it. At a minimum you want to look closely at the arm on the other side. There are some vehicles that are prone to rust in particular areas. Once those particular areas are repaired the rest may be fine. In other cases it is the sign of things to come, more rust.

  • Awesome, Thanks for your input. I'll have our mechanic look at the rest of the car and give us an idea of what it would take to fix it. – Chris Schmitz Mar 17 '15 at 0:23
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    In terms of danger, you've probably understated it. Without the control arms in the proper place, the axle CV joints can come apart; at even moderate speeds their components are potentially dangerous projectiles. I had a separated CV joint blow a hole in an oil pan when it popped out of place. As long as there's not more damage the LCA should not be an expensive repair (I'd guess $70 in parts and 1-2 hours in labor) but please get a tow to the shop. – R.. Mar 17 '15 at 2:26
  • Yeah, I'm not trying to drive it anywhere. I'm calling a tow truck this morning. Also, my boss (who has the same car) pointed out that there was a recall for this exact issue: repairpal.com/recall/09V125000 I'm calling the nearest hyundai dealer this morning to make sure the recall is still in effect. – Chris Schmitz Mar 17 '15 at 12:00
  • Sad update, my VIN isn't within the range of the recall or the recall is no longer in effect. I called a dealer, they looked up info on my VIN, and found no recalls. – Chris Schmitz Mar 17 '15 at 12:35

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