My sister has a 1995 Chevy Lumina. The vehicle sometimes make a creaking or groaning noise during turning or driving over bumpy surfaces. There is a metal bar near the driver's side rear wheel that has apparently rusted and broken. I am not quite positive what the bar is; however, when I tried grabbing the tire and moving it back and forth, there seemed to be far too much movement forward and backward movement for my liking. Unfortunately, I am quite ignorant about the suspension systems of vehicles.

What is the name of the part that has broken and is it dangerous to drive without?

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  • 2
    It's either called a "trailing arm" or a "spindle rod". Looking on RockAuto.com, it shows for both and there are some differences (in part numbers) so I'm not quite sure what to call it or which one it is, actually. Hopefully someone who has worked on/replaced these will speak up about it. In the meantime, it is NOT SAFE to drive this car. This rod affects the drivability, handling, and braking of the entire vehicle. It is just plain unsafe to drive it in its current condition. May 14, 2017 at 20:30
  • @paulster2 sorry, just seen your reply...
    – Solar Mike
    May 14, 2017 at 20:32
  • @SolarMike - No worries, not really a reply ... just a comment :o) May 14, 2017 at 21:20
  • Let's both hope it's fixed tomorrow...! Like the Op to be safe.
    – Solar Mike
    May 14, 2017 at 21:32

1 Answer 1


I would call this a "trailing arm" - it locates the wheel for stability, control and braking. Definitely NOT safe to drive. You have been very lucky given the damage shown by the part itself. This has to be fixed.

  • Thanks much! Just curious if this it is typical (for a 20+ year old vehicle) for such a part to fail or might this indicate a severe rust problem?
    – KellyM
    May 14, 2017 at 20:42
  • 1
    reason for the failure could be anything - damage because someone used it as a jacking point, hit on a rock / kerb... Given, from the photo, that the material still seems to be evenly thick with no rust holes, maybe not a rust problem. But when you get it replaced make sure the mechanic looks at all the suspension parts front / rear and side to side to be sure.
    – Solar Mike
    May 14, 2017 at 20:46
  • This a common rust failure point in the North East rust belt. It might also be called a rear lower control arm. Replace both sides at the same time, if one side failed it is highly likely the other isn't far from it. Before spending any money see if you have a model with the transverse fiberglass spring. If it is damaged it is likely not worth repairing the car.
    – mikes
    May 15, 2017 at 0:14

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