Rubber vs Polyurethane Suspension Bushings

Rubber vs Polyurethane Bushings

Rubber or Polyurethane? Each has their pros, and each has their cons. In the suspension bushing world, the majority of decisions comes down to these two materials and the inevitable question: which one is better?
In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of each material. Specifically we’ll look at the differences between rubber and polyurethane in:


It’s all Relative

When asking the question, “which is better for bushings: polyurethane or rubber?”, you must first acknowledge that this is a relative question. Imagine a guy from Texas and a guy from Alaska meet at a July conference in Seattle, Washington. The guy from Texas, who is used to the average temperature of about 96 degrees Fahrenheit, would sense the relief in the 72 degree weather. While the guy from Alaska would gladly welcome the warm weather instead of the mid 60s he would usually get in July. So to these guys, cold or hot is relative. In comparing rubber bushings against polyurethane, its much the same. Noise, vibration and harshness (aka NVH – important later) are relative to the driver. Here are the facts regarding rubber and polyurethane so you can make an informed decision.

Rubber Vs Polyurethane

Opposite ends of the spectrum?

It is important to clarify that rubber and polyurethane are not polar opposites. They are not on opposite ends of the spectrum. There are softer things than rubber, like jello, and harder things than polyurethane, like aluminum or metal joints. While there probably isn’t a car out there that utilizes the innovative jello bushing, there are a lot of race car drivers who run aluminum joints on their vehicles. Rubber and polyurethane, while differing in a lot of ways, fall more in the middle of the spectrum.

Rubber Vs Polyurethane Scale


Ride Quality

Trade off: Smooth and Quiet ride vs a Bit more NVH

Rubber Vs Polyurethane Ride Quality

Rubber is a much softer material than polyurethane, so it dampens a lot of the road noise and vibrations from entering the cab of the vehicle. In other words, it softens the blow from the road.

Polyurethane on the other hand is made to be a firmer bushing than rubber. This means more noise and vibration will be transferred to the cab as the suspension travels. Some may feel the ride is harsh, while others welcome the enhanced feel of the road. Again, recall our sojourners from Texas and Alaska. How you answer the question of ride quality is a relative question. Would you like a more tactile feel of the road or pillows for tires?

Rubber Vs Polyurethane


Lifespan

Trade off: Repeat offender vs Longevity

Rubber Vs Polyurethane Lifespan

Think about it for a minute. What are you replacing? A rubber O.E. bushing right? So it’s pretty safe to assume that replacing a worn and torn rubber bushing with the same material will put you right back in this same spot one day. Entropy will eventually run its course and the bushing will wear out. Rubber is soft, and more importantly, takes damage from heat, road chemicals, oil and UV rays. So these bushing are already going to take a beating, and that’s before you put the weight of the vehicle and the stresses of the suspension on them.

As the suspension travels the bushings stretch and compress to comply with the suspension movement. Over time, rubber begins to wear and distort causing your suspension to work less efficiently due to the failing part. Loose suspension parts, constant mis-alignment, and annoying noises are common symptoms of a failed rubber bushing. If you use rubber to replace failed rubber, don’t be surprised to find yourself in a similar situation several years down the road. For some people that’s okay. A rubber suspension bushing is like a tire, in that eventually the bushing will wear out and need to be replaced. Some would rather keep the soft bushing and its characteristics even if they have to replace it again in the future.

Rubber Vs Polyurethane

Others, however, want a part that lasts the lifetime of their vehicle. That’s where polyurethane comes in. Polyurethane bushings are a firmer material and far better suited to handle the grind of being a suspension bushing. This material is resistant to heat, road chemicals, other oils and UV rays. Not only is polyurethane weather proof, it’s also wear resistant. Rubber is damaged after repeated flexing and stretching. Polyurethane doesn’t have that problem. Since there is very little flexing and stretching, a polyurethane bushing doesn’t warp or distort the way rubber does. Many poly bushing manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty on their polyurethane bushings to show their confidence in the material standing the test of time.


Feel

Trade off: Standard Feel vs Enhanced Feel

Rubber Vs Polyurethane Feel

Another relative term, so again it’s all about user preference here. Rubber is what comes standard when your car is brand new. Vehicle manufacturers have used rubber for suspension bushings for decades. Now whether this was because they thought it was the “best” or just the “cheapest” is a topic for further debate. Regardless, rubber is what came stock on your vehicle. Using a rubber bushing as a replacement will give you the same feel your vehicle had before the rubber failed.

Polyurethane on the other hand will give the driver an enhanced feel of the road. This may be a turn off to some, but there are drivers that desire to feel every bit of the road to maximize their ability to drive. With the feel of polyurethane, the vehicle seems to be an extension of the driver himself, far more than rubber would allow.

Rubber Vs Polyurethane

With the feel of polyurethane, the vehicle seems to be an extension of the driver himself…


Performance

Trade off: Standard Steering and Handling vs Enhanced Steering and Handling

Rubber Vs Polyurethane Performance

Using a softer material such as rubber for a suspension bushing means foregoing a lot of performance benefits in order to achieve a smoother ride. Rubber is much more compliant, meaning it has a lot of give when the suspension moves. The effect of this is a smoother ride in the car. However this can lead to a lot of excess suspension movement and a slower response time in your handling. This is usually okay when you’re going 40 mph down the road in a straight line. But what happens when you’re driving fast and want to turn quickly?

Rubber Vs Polyurethane Performance

Polyurethane bushings are firmer than rubber, so it doesn’t flex or deflect as much as rubber. By reducing the excess suspension movement, polyurethane makes the suspension more efficient and more responsive to the driver. Polyurethane bushing engineers design the hardness bushings specifically for each vehicle. By utilizing the best durometer for each bushing in a suspension, the result is a careful balance between NVH and performance.

Polyurethane is not just for race car drivers, but any driving enthusiast who wants more performance and handling from their vehicle. On the other hand, rubber isn’t just for the old Cadillac driven by your grandmother. Some people desire the smooth ride and care little about the performance they miss out on with rubber. Others like to drive their vehicle aggressively and don’t mind the added NVH polyurethane brings with the performance boost. The choice is yours.


Squeaking

Trade off: No opportunity for squeaking vs Opportunity for squeaking

Rubber Vs Polyurethane Squeaking

This is a fun topic because there are a lot of misconceptions out there regarding polyurethane and squeaking. But before we address those, here are the facts about a rubber bushing regarding the issue. Rubber is chemically bonded with the outer shell. So from the moment you take it out of the box and install the rubber replacement bushing, you don’t have to worry about squeaking. Squeaking occurs when the bushing rubs against metal. Because the rubber is affixed to the metal and can’t move in relation to the metal, there isn’t an opportunity for squeaking.

Rubber Vs Polyurethane

Polyurethane on the other hand is a different story. Polyurethane bushings have this stigma that they WILL 100 percent absolutely squeak. This is FALSE. Polyurethane absolutely CAN squeak, IF you don’t use grease. Polyurethane bushings do not have a chemical bond with the housing they’re installed into, but rather a mechanical bond. A mechanical bond occurs when the larger polyurethane bushing is installed into the slightly smaller hole. The pressure between the bushing and the metal keeps the bushing centered. With this mechanical bond, the opportunity for the polyurethane to squeak is opened up. If the bushing rotates and rubs the outer metal shell as the suspension travels, squeaking can occur. This is where the grease is VITAL. If you install the bushing properly, and lubricate the bushing well, there will not be any squeaking. See the Servicing section below for more on this.

Rubber Vs Polyurethane Grease


Servicing

Trade off: Install and Replace vs Install and Maintain

Rubber Vs Polyurethane Install

Rubber bushings are an “install it and forget it” type operation. There is no need to re-grease any bushing. In fact you never grease them at all because the rubber is chemically bonded with metal. The only maintenance required with rubber bushings is the need to replace them once they eventually wear out.

With polyurethane you are getting a much longer lifespan out of the bushing. Consequently you won’t need to replace anything for a long time, if ever. The problem is if the polyurethane part is poorly designed, the grease could be squeezed out and you are left with no lubrication between the polyurethane and metal. This has led polyurethane bushing engineers to incorporate a design that retains grease on the bushing. Some manufactures leave little grooves on the inside of the bushing, while others have developed a knurling. These grooves or knurling help prevent grease from squeezing out. Over time, unfortunately, gunk can get in the tacky grease or the grease could rub off. Without the grease, the opportunity for squeaking presents itself. While these grooves and knurls are designed to avoid that for as long as possible, polyurethane manufacturers will tell you (if you ask) that you may want to re-grease the polyurethane bushings within 5 years. This is especially true with high stress parts like the control arm bushings or sway bar bushings. At around 4 to 5 years, the lubricant may have rubbed off enough that you’ll begin to hear squeaking. As soon as you hear any squeaking, just hit it with some grease and you should be good for another half decade.

Rubber Vs Polyurethane


Installation

Trade off: Advanced Mechanic vs DIY

Rubber Vs Polyurethane Install

Rubber bushings have to be created with a new outer bushing shell. This is great for eliminating any opportunity for squeaking, but not so great for ease of DIY installation. Installing a rubber bushing can be much harder than a polyurethane bushing. Usually you will have to take the arm or spring off the vehicle and use a hydraulic press to both remove the O.E. bushing and to install the new rubber bushing. Most people don’t have a hydraulic press, so they have to take their vehicle to a mechanic in order to get their bushings replaced. There are still those extreme DIY’ers that will attempt to install a bushing themselves. If that’s you take a look at our article showing you How to Install a Bushing Without a Press.

Rubber vs Poly Install Gif

A polyurethane bushing is much easier to install because a hydraulic press is typically not required. The two piece design of a polyurethane bushing utilizes the original outer metal bushing shell. Once you’ve learned How to Burn Out Bushings the Right Way by reading our article on the subject, you can easily install the two piece design polyurethane bushing yourself.

Rubber vs Poly Install Gif

Engineers design polyurethane bushings with the DIY’er in mind. There are a few polyurethane bushings on various applications that have an outer shell, but the majority use a two piece design. The two piece design bushings install by hand. You install one piece on either side of the housing and the center sleeve slides in the middle.

Rubber Vs Polyurethane Install


Wrap up

This should give you enough general information to determine whether rubber or polyurethane is the best choice for your vehicle. Just remember the differences in:

Rubber and polyurethane, while different in performance and feel, are actually more on the middle ground in the scale of bushing material. If you’re a race car driver that wants maximum performance and cares little about ride quality, an aluminum mount or metal joint is for you. I don’t know of any bushing softer than rubber but if you are crazy and innovative, attempt jello. For the majority of us, when it comes to suspension bushings, it comes down to rubber or polyurethane. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks. When it comes down to it, the only person that can tell you what’s better for your ride, is you.

Are you a polyurethane die-hard who would rather feel like you’re riding on rails? Or do you swear by rubber? Put your thoughts and experiences in the comments and let’s have some discussion.

*NVH*

The acronym NVH applies to the noise, vibration and harshness from the suspension of a vehicle.

56 thoughts on “Rubber vs Polyurethane Suspension Bushings

    1. Thanks Brit. The manufacturer’s set the bushing durometer to what works best in that specific suspension bushing. Given that, there is not really a way to generalize a bushing durometer since they can call be different from vehicle to vehicle and part to part. If you have a specific bushing in mind you can always call the manufacturer and ask what durometer they set that bushing at. They may or may not tell you, depending on the manufacturer. Some manufacturers don’t like to give away too many proprietary details, while other manufacturers will gladly give you. It just depends.

  1. Reference:
    Installations of:
    Bushing without being encased on
    their O.D by medal.
    Vertical bolt with a tube outer sleeve type.
    (Ford Explorer 2006, 4.0L MFI SOHC 6 cyl..).

    1. Sway bar link bushings are said often not to be over tightened. ?
    2. Rubber is Black;
    Polyurethane often are White in color;
    Some thermoplastics are Red.
    Some thermoplastics are Blue.
    Are the Blue or Red thermoplastic any different
    than the White’s? Blue or Red somewhat softer than White’s?
    Blue or Red still are not affected by higher heat, oxidation, and/or cracking?
    3. a. Some say once the two bushing halves start to meet (for sure)
    then tighten the nut more only by 2 or 3 threads. ?
    b. Others say when the bushing’s outside diameter just starts to be seen
    to increase in O.D., then stop tightening the nut any more?
    4. Since being harder (rigid ), perhaps over tightening of polyurethane
    / thermoplastics are even less desirable than rubber’s ?
    5. How important is putting the bolt’s head downward and the nut’s on
    the top of the bolt; (less corrosion of threads being higher off the roadway)?
    Or also entrapping less water in the nut threads when nut is downward?
    6. a. Would a plastic insert type lock- nut be better to used ?
    b. Or use blue mechanical Lock-Tight on the bolt’s thread?
    c. Same cases for the Sway Bar’s clamps’ mounting bolts?

    Again your materials articular is very great !!!
    Thank You very much!

  2. Great Read. Finally someone who know how to write something. Great job. Enjoyed the read and got a lot from the information provided. Good comparisons, pictures and details.

    You should write for the President.

  3. Great article – I need to make my own suspension bushings for a 1963 Italian sports car known as an Innocenti Spider. The bushings have a 7/8″ steel shell and a 1/2″ steel shaft that has locater flats on each end. The shaft is NOT supposed to turn, but flex. Have trued a few recommended polyurethane products, Shore factor D 80 and to date, none have adhered to the center shaft and even the slightest pressure breaks the bond. Is there a rubber based product that you can recommend? Thanks Steve Bell

    1. Hey Steve,

      First of all thats a pretty sweet car. We can imagine you have trouble finding bushings for such a vehicle.

      To answer your question simply, we’re not aware of any product that would allow you to make your own rubber suspension bushings. It’s a process that is on a level of DIY that most people can’t really manage with easily obtained materials and tools.

      Since most polyurethane bushings are mechanically bonded to the housing (instead of chemically bonded to the outer shell like rubber bushings) it doesn’t sound like poly will work for your application. Given the rarity of the vehicle it’s unlikely that a manufacturer will have a bushing that will work for you, so your best bet is probably going to be finding another Spider in a junk yard somewhere and scavenging some bushings.

      Does anyone know of a product that allows you to make your own rubber bushings?

      Sorry we couldn’t be more help and hope you find something that will work for you.

  4. I did a restoration on my 1974 nova 10 years ago and I used a polyurethane kit to replaced every bushing in the car. I wanted to I prove the handling as much as I could because let’s face it 70s handling wasnt great. The handling did improve a bit but the increased road noise and vibration took away from the original comfort and smooth ride. I wouldn’t recommend them for a cruiser or any car that you intend to drive for long distances. The road noise tends to drone on you and the vibration through the wheels and steering causes fatigue in the hands and arms. The minor improvement in handling isn’t worth discomfort.

    1. Hey Randal,

      This is one of the chief complaints about polyurethane bushings. They really do wonders in regards to maintaining alignment and suspension geometry but the price of that rigidity is more transferred road noise and vibration.

      It is definitely a preference issue. If you want a smooth ride above all else then rubber bushings are your friend. If you’re planning on taking tight turns at speed or want responsive handling that will last for the life of your vehicle then polyurethane might be what you’re looking for.

      There are some instances where poly bushings can be used in place of rubber without any increase in NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness), such as the sway bar bushings or end link grommets. Since these bushings do not hold the weight of the vehicle they have almost no effect on the comfort of your ride while improving performance.

      Do you still own that Nova? We would love to know how those bushings are holding up after 10 years.

      Thanks for the insight Randal.

  5. Great article ,am about to to replace the entire back suspension on my nissan xtrail with the poly bushings ,,,seeing that my country of origin road conditions are kinda rough with a lot of sharp turns and uphill and downhill slopes ,hope hose bushings improve handling and keep alignment up to max .thanks again

  6. Question 01: Is there a sound scientifically-based answer as to the pros and cons of mixing poly sway bar end links with OEM rubber sway bar mounting bushings? I understand that the bulk of the work will fall on the rubber mounting bushings. The reason for using rubber mounting bushings is to avoid squeaking and maintenance issues that sometimes accompany replacing new parts into older mounts. Also, no one seems to offer aftermarket high durometer rubber end link bushings for a VW MK4 GTI. The OEM part is almost as expensive as the HQ aftermarket options… Squeaking should not be an issue with poly-bushing links as they will be assembled by the mfg as a new part.

    Question 02: Additionally, does anyone have experience with performance characteristics with this setup; pros and cons?

    1. Hey Randy,

      Answer 1:

      First off, I don’t think there are any benefits to using poly end link bushings and rubber sway bar bushings.

      In the case of sway bar bushings, polyurethane is almost always going to be the best option, because like you said, most of the work is falling on those mounting bushings to keep the bar functioning properly. Replacing those bushings with more rubber is a temporary fix since they will wear out eventually, while most poly bushing manufacturers will back up their bushings with a lifetime warranty.

      If the price between aftermarket poly and OEM rubber is about the same then why not get the part that will last longer?

      The squeaking problem you mentioned is handled by applying the grease that comes with the bushings in every aftermarket sway bar bushing kit (at least the ones DST sells) which should be done, not just for the noise, but the health of the part. If liberally applied during install you shouldn’t need to grease them again for at least five years.

      As an aside, when rubber bushings eventually wear out and leave you with a hollowed out inner diameter you won’t get a squeaking, but you will hear the clunking of your loose sway bar (which can only be fixed by replacing the bushing) instead of a squeaking poly bushing (which can be solved with a little grease).

      Answer 2:

      I can’t tell you from personal experience (anyone else?) the performance differences between a poly/rubber mixed setup, but theoretically the firmer grip of polyurethane sway bar bushings will give your sway bar the performance characteristics of a larger diameter sway bar (less body roll, more contact patch on the road during a turn). So if the squeaking is your biggest concern I would suggest giving the poly bushings a try, for the performance advantage, and making sure they’re well greased.

      Has anyone tried this setup personally, or have any other insight about a rubber sway bar bushing and polyurethane end link setup?

      Thanks for the questions Randy, hope this was helpful.

      1. Thanks Josh. I appreciate your answer. I guess I’ll just give the poly mount bushings a shot. I know the performance will be better. I just absolutely hate redoing/fixing work and squeaking noises.

        1. No Problem Randy,

          On the bright side, most polyurethane sway bar bushings are split so to install them you don’t have to disconnect the sway bar at all. You just slip them onto the bar and tighten the bracket down on top of them, after applying a lot of grease of course. You probably won’t be off-roading in your VW but if you go over high water and submerge the sway bar for an extended period of time then some of the grease could wash away. In that case, or if you hear any squeaking, adding more grease should fix the problem. Just the other day we talked to a tech at Prothane and he said the polyurethane bushings on his car haven’t squeaked once and he’s had them installed for five years.

          Wish you luck with the poly bushings. Let us know how you like them.

      1. Hey Adain,

        That company does have some rubber bushings in the control arms they sell (though I don’t think they sell them individually) and some are rated at a 90A durometer, which is really high, but when thinking about bushings higher isn’t always better.

        Bushing selection should depend on the driver and what kind of driving they want to do. A higher durometer bushing will increase performance and alignment holding ability while decreasing comfort, so finding a sweet spot is the trick. Polyurethane bushings are generally considered a durable performance option but some lower durometer poly bushings can offer a comfortable ride while still maintaining their shape better and longer than rubber.

        SuperPro is just one poly bushing manufacturer that spends a lot of R&D time in search of that sweet spot (finding specific duormeters for bushing positions on specific vehicles) and uses poly formulas as low as 74A for some applications. The best thing that rubber bushings have going for them is they can provide a softer ride than more durable polyurethane bushings and since most poly bushings are rated around 80-85A a higher durometer rubber bushing loses the advantage altogether. If you’re replacing a part on your daily driver, and you don’t mind the fact that you may have to do it again years down the road, then rubber bushings are fine. If you like to take corners a little faster than necessary then poly bushings will keep your alignment secure and most are warrantied to last the life of your vehicle.

        Thanks for sharing some different options Adain.

  7. Won’t that be harder on the suppsion parts and wear ball joints, tie rod ends, and etc parts out faster since the bushing doesn’t have any give to them? And if you have to regrease them every 4 to 5 years having to take it back apart to do that and having realignments done every time wear them out faster too but with rubber well mine lasted over 14 years and 200,000 miles so you take it apart less

    1. Hey Stephen,

      Great question. It’s important to note that the real wear on suspension components happens when parts are misaligned, and polyurethane bushings hold alignment much better than rubber. When the suspension parts are in place and functioning as they were designed you should not get anything more than normal wear. While polyurethane bushings are much more firm than rubber they still have some give so you’re equalizing comfort, performance, and longevity, whereas rubber is most comfortable and metal mounts or spherical bushings are best performance.

      As for poly bushing maintenance, the rule of thumb for greasing poly bushings is five years. But the surest sign that the bushings need grease is when you can hear squeaking. If there’s no squeaking then you’re probably ok. Many brands of polyurethane bushings have grease retaining technology like cross hatching or knurling to keep the grease on the bushings and some components like sway bar bushings have greaseable brackets with zerk fitting installed which makes maintenance incredibly easy. Some brands like SuperPro even maintain in their lifetime warranty that, if properly greased upon installation, their bushings will not need re-greasing for the life of the vehicle.

      In any case, most polyurethane bushings are a half bushing install on each side of the housing, so there should not be any wear when removing them. It’s also not out of the realm of possibility that your vehicle might be receiving some maintenance that would allow easy access to the bushings you want to grease within five years of installing poly bushings, so you could have it taken care of then, especially if you’re having the vehicle realigned anyway.

      Thanks for the questions Stephen. Does anyone have any insight into polyurethane bushings having an affect on the rate that other suspension components wear out?

  8. Going on 6 years now with full poly bushings, 2″ drop all around and front/rear tubular kit from sphoon on a 99 f-body Camaro. Here is my thoughts thus far. On the noise, I didn’t really notice a huge difference in noise, yeah it was louder but a good set of tires off set it enuff it just isn’t an issue for me. Handling, cant emphasize enuff how much better car handles on poly. I’m a very aggressive driver ,i built my car to drive hard. which kind of leads me into the next part. maintenance and wear. as far as wear, with exception to 2 areas they are pretty much indestructible. now for those two areas. end links and tie rod ends. absolutely prepair to change these two areas. not sure why but my self and all the people I know running poly set ups are having the same issues. end links wear out with in a year with aggressive driving, the tie rod end with in 2 years. the good news is there easy and quick to change out, and not that expensive. most of us have just went back to rubber tie rod ends, while retaining the poly end links. also if you have the adjustable control arms,panard or any other components installed you will need to adjust them every once in a while. The bad news is the other trade off that hasn’t been mentioned is your shocks/struts wear out faster as well.and little things here and there need tightened in your interior from the extra vibrations and harder hitting from pot holes.oh yeah pot holes basically now feel like volcanic craters when you hit one.what ever you do avoid them if possible.if you see a pothole,approach it as you would a 200 pound deer jumpin in front of you.swerve, pucker youre ass, and screem oh sh#t. Another thing ill point out is altho just installing poly is a markable upgrade, to really appreciate polys full potential, junk the stamped steel and make the switch to tubular. As far as ride quality, I’ll say this, If your switching to poly be prepaired for a rough ride. But if your switching to poly that’s kind of the point. they poly lets you feel every nook,cranny,and pebble in the road. everything is more responsive and sensitive.If you want to tear up a curvy road at break neck speeds,make the switch to poly, if you want a soft quiet car to drive 1000 miles on the hi-way on your next road trip, stick to rubber.

    1. Hey Shawn,

      Glad to hear those poly bushings are still going strong 6 years later. They really are a great option for an aggressive driver who doesn’t want the teeth rattling experience of solid mounts and metal bushings.

      We spoke with a representative from Energy Suspension who said that aggressive driving coupled with the heavy F Body chassis is likely the reason you’re burning through endlinks and tie rod ends. Running wider or stickier tires or an aftermarket sway bar could have an effect on the rate of wear as well. Just imagine how often you’d need to replace rubber endlinks.

      One thing I would add is that even if you’re planning a trans-America road trip you can still be comfortable with poly sway bar bushings and endlinks. Since those parts just connect the control arms of the vehicle they transfer almost no vibration from the road to the frame, so you can still enjoy the body roll reduction of poly sway bar bushings and keep the factory comfort setting of your vehicle.

      Thanks Shawn. It’s always nice to hear about someone getting the most out of their vehicle with some underappreciated poly bushings. Ride smooth and drive hard.

  9. I am really concerned that not only road noise, Harshness & Vibration will increase but other body parts such as the interior fittings will receive all of that and all sort of noises will start coming from the interior fittings. is not that a concern when fitting poly bushings.

    1. Hey Abdullah,

      The short answer we received from a SuperPro representative concerning transferred vibration from polyurethane bushings wearing down other components prematurely is, “It won’t”. (This is contingent on the entire suspension system being polyurethane, more later)

      First of all, poly bushings can come in different durometers (hardness) and while rubber sits around 50a poly bushings usually range from 65a to 95a. The lower the durometer the more “give” the bushing will have which means more absorption while higher durometers will hold alignment better in hard, quick turns. SuperPro says they research to find the appropriate durometer for each application so the ride will be the best balance between smooth and secure as possible.

      It’s important to note that vibration will always travel down the path of least resistance so a mixed system with poly and rubber bushings will likely wear down the rubber components before their time. Poly bushings also hold alignment much better and longer than rubber and misalignment can be the root cause of premature wear on many parts and components, especially your tires.

      In the case of engine or transmission mounts you will likely have more vibration spread around than a rubber mount would allow. This might cause more wear on some components, but again this is a trade off between comfort and performance and your choice will depend heavily on how you want the vehicle to handle vs how much vibration you’re willing to put up with.

      Thanks for the question Abdullah. It’s a common concern among folks who are trying to decide between poly and rubber bushings. Does anyone have first hand experience regarding excessive wear on their suspension parts?

    2. Assuming you drive “normal” per say, you wont have any issues at all. In my case I drive extremely aggressive. even under those conditions the worst i’ve had to do from vibration was tighten up some trim on my dash here and there and replace my struts, and that probably is more do to my driving, not the fact I have poly installed. wouldn’t matter if it was rubber or poly, you drive hard enough your gonna have some extra wear and tear.A loud stereo is going to loosen up more parts than poly ever will. Road noise is minimal. I really don’t understand why so many people say its bad with poly bushings. Yes its a little louder, but its really not that much. If you really like to “drive” your car, give poly a try. and like stated you can do just do the sway bar to start. see what you think and go from there. . There many brands out there, personally I like Spohn, but energy suspension is top notch to. also kinda off topic but avoid the drilled and sloted rotors while your up-gradeing.6years of real world daily driving testing and racing on my part on brakes and suspension,trying different combinations.optimal set up for street performance is poly bushings,blank rotors and believe it or not semi-metallic pads,unless your at the track then ceramics.take the money you save not buying those fancy drilled rotors and invest it in poly bushings :tup:

  10. to original poster, youre knowledge seems extensive, have you delt with or know much about the spherical mounts. I’m thinking its like the next step above poly,but theres not much as far as reviews online. I’m looking to really maximize my f body handling.at close to 2 tons not an easy task lol. I love the poly, but it just seems like the car is capable of so much more. so far Ive done the complete tubular upgrade(stiffer sway bars,control arms,transmition,sub frame connectors,panard bar,torque arm, tunnel brace, the works, all 4130 all poly,relocated rear lower control arms, koni strt’s all around,3 point tower brace. I keep reading about an x-brace upgrade and the spherical mounts,considering both if there going to make a marked improvement.

    1. Hey Shawn,

      I ran your setup by our resident ASE Certified mechanic and he said you’re at a point where you need to decide if you want a dedicated track car or something you can drive comfortably on the road. Spherical bearing mounts will definitely firm up your suspension even more, but you are REALLY going to feel the road. Those “volcanic craters” you were talking about are going to be about 10X worse if you stiffen that Camaro up with spherical bearings.

      So it comes down to what kind of driving/racing you want to do. There is a point where the stiffness of your suspension can be an obstacle to the way you want to drive. Right now your ride seems pretty balanced for performance and tolerable comfort if your Camaro is your daily driver.

      Each suspension option has it’s place and it’s very much up to the driver and purpose of the vehicle which option will fit best. Since you’ve driven your Camaro for 6 years and like the way it handles now you might try and test drive something with spherical bearings, if at all possible, before you make any major changes.

      No personal experience with the x brace but it’s widely accepted as a pretty cost effective way to sharpen up the turn-in snap of a vehicle. Anyone have some firsthand experience with this on a 99 Camaro?

      Thanks for the comments, Shawn, and good luck in your search for the perfect suspension.

      1. thanks for the input. gearing this car for track only use. so thinking I’m gona go the spherical route. understeer is my biggest issue I’m trying to address.so hope fully it will help a little.may just be car is just to heavy for hardcore track use.time will tell. priced it all out, with all the new control arms and mount gonna run around 3 grand,but well worth it. think I’m gona go ahead and do new k-member and finally do the ls3 swap while I’m at it.time to do a serious track car. happy motoring and thanks again for the input

        1. Hey Shawn,

          Yeah, if you’re building a dedicated track car then go nuts. Since you don’t have to worry about vibration and noise from the road on long drives spherical mounts should be fine and will really help with the understeer, but (as I’m sure you already know) tire pressure, spring rates, and sway bar load are going to play their part too.

          Sounds like you’re going to have a sweet machine once all the tinkering is done. Let us know how it’s handling and good luck on the track.

  11. I’ve got a 96 k2500hd, I’m going to be having the front end rebuilt, but am on the fence on what bushing to use, poly or rubber, I plan to keep the truck well beyond 300k miles about I’m at about 192k now. The torsion bars are slightly cranked up, but I did have it realigned when I did that. With that said, I do use it like a truck, road noise and vibration are kind of a gimme with 265/75/16 Nitto a/ts, my truck does occasionally see some mud and water up to the frame, I’m not out mudding but unfortunately I do have some deep holes of water and mud to pass through to get to my camp in the woods. It does see 4×4 use several times a year for that reason. It is also my DD, and I do pull a 6×12 dual axle trailer every week. I hate squeaky joints and I would really hate to have my truck sound like an old ford on every bump, and I would hate to have to take it to the shop to have the poly bushings regressed every time I go to camp.

    I know you said the polys won’t need grease for about 5 years, but what are your thoughts about my particular situation?

    1. Hey Cory,

      It sounds like your truck goes through quite a bit 🙂 The biggest factor you want to consider when choosing between poly and rubber bushings is comfort vs performance and durability, but as far as noise, using the manufacturer’s polyurethane bushing grease is the best way to reduce the chance of squeaking. It will hang in there through a lot of punishment and keep those bushings quiet.

      Almost all polyurethane sway bar bushings are very easily removed and re-installed if you need to grease them, (unbolt the bracket, slip off the bushing, grease, reattach bushing and bracket) so if they do start squeaking then you could take care of it without needing to visit the shop.

      From a purely performance standpoint there’s no reason not to get poly sway bar bushings and endlinks. They hold up so much longer than rubber, don’t transfer noise and vibration to the cab, and reduce your trucks body roll during a turn. win win win. The front control arm bushings will give you a little more vibration, but they hold the alignment of your front wheels longer and more securely than rubber.

      There are some poly bushing manufacturers (SuperPro) who actually warranty their bushings against squeaking, if they are properly greased with the right grease. That just goes to show how important your choice of grease is, but all in all people have different experiences. A tech from Prothane told us that his car has had a full poly bushing suspension for 5 years and he has yet to hear a squeak. You’re doing some rough stuff with your truck so we can’t say with 100% certainty that poly bushings wouldn’t eventually squeak. What we can say is that they’ll still be in good condition when the odometer hits 300k.

      Does anyone have first hand experience with poly bushings vs rubber on a K2500 4×4?

      Thanks for the question Cory. Here’s to a quiet ride.

      1. Thanks for the quick response, Josh. I should’ve clarified on the noise and vibration a little better in my original post. I’m not too concerned about the stiffness nor excess vibration as I own a 3/4 ton truck and not for its ride quality.

        My main concern is water or mud intrusion on the control arm bushings and causing premature squeaking.

        Sway bar bushings and end links will absolutely be converted to poly as well since like you said above they are relatively easy to grease.

        1. Hey again Cory,

          Sorry if I didn’t get you a solid answer the first time, but I can’t come out and say, “poly bushings aren’t going to squeak on you for at least 5 years.” There’s just too many variables with the trips to the woods and burying the suspension in mud up to the axles.

          The best I can do is to say that as long as there is grease on the bushings they won’t squeak, and the polyurethane bushing grease that the manufacturers send with their bushings is designed to stay put and keep everything else out. It’s waterPROOF and sticky as all get out. If I were you I’d look for some bushings with grooves (knurling, cross hatching) molded into the inner diameter of the bushings. This will give the bushings a extra amount of grease retention so it can outlast any water or mud that makes it’s way in-between the bushings and sleeves or housing and keep those bushings quiet. If you can’t find a grooved bushing some people have notched their own grooves into smooth bore bushings that fit their vehicle, but this is in no way guaranteed to work and will almost certainly void your warranty since you’d be modifying the product.

          example of cross hatching

          Hope this helps. If you decide to go with poly be sure to check in later and let us know how they do. Good luck.

  12. Great article, well written and filled with a lot of useful information. I have a stock Nissan Titan truck and I love the ride of my truck. Seeing as how I probably will not own the truck in five years I will opt for rubber bushings except for the sway bar bushings, end links and control arm bushings.
    You cleared up many of the misconceptions I had as well.

    Thank you

    1. Hey Guillermo,

      Glad the information was helpful! There are a lot of misconceptions about poly bushings out there but they’ve come a long way since they were first introduced. With the formulas that manufacturers have developed you get the durability of poly but still retain some of the give of rubber.

      If you like how your Nissan Titan rides now then the rubber bushings are fine and you can definitely decrease body roll and increase traction in a turn with some poly sway bar bushings and endlink bushings and not lose the factory comfort level. Polyurethane control arm bushings are going to transfer more vibration when compared to rubber but they will hold wheel alignment much better, so not a bad trade.

      If you have any questions about specific parts feel free to contact the amazing customer support staff at Suspension.com and they will get you whatever information you want. Good luck with your upgrades.

  13. Good day…very very important question,hope someone can answer,we have a Ford Territory and we can’t get front suspension bushes anywhere,also my husband could not get the polyurethane so someone told him that we can use an oil on tevlon. So the bushes were made and fitted,now it squeakes so bad its embarrassing?!! I s there any way at all of fixing this or getting rid of the squeacking or is it dangerous to ride like this because it’s not the correct material?? I really need some urgent answers please before I light a match and burn the car . 🙂 How will I know if you replied on my comment,does it go to my e mail? Or do I check here?

    1. Hey Mari,

      I’m not sure what kind of material your current bushings are made of but the squeaking is usually a sign of a lack of lubricant with polyurethane bushings. I would be sure to check them often and make sure they aren’t warping or cracking since bushing failure could cause more serious complications. You might try greasing them with polyurethane bushing grease and (if they are still in good shape and not showing signs of premature wear) see if that stops the squeaking.

      If you’re talking about front control arm bushings or track bar bushings then you might be able to find what you need on our Universal Pivot Bushing page. If you can find a bushing that fits all the measurements of your application then you should be able to replace them, no problem. Poly bushings have been know to squeak IF they are not lubricated with the manufacturer’s polyurethane bushing grease, so if you do find what you need be sure to grease them well before you install.

      If you have any other questions please feel free to contact our knowledgeable customer service staff and they will help you.

      Hope this helps. Good luck Mari.

  14. Thank you for a very informative write up on the subject. I’m having trouble finding new control arms for my 1998 camaro with rubber ball joints pre-installed, all the Moog and Mevotech are poly and I’m afraid it will give a rough ride. The cheap control arms have rubber but I prefer a brand I know to be quality. I have also read that replacing rubber suspension components with poly can put too much flex/stress on the body upon cornering. Any thoughts appreciated.

    1. Hey Mike,

      Glad the article was helpful!

      We aren’t aware of any polyurethane control arm bushings from Moog and the only rubber on a ball joint is going to be the dust boot. We do offer Moog ball joints and several brands of control arm bushings for the ’98 Camaro (both poly and rubber) but, unfortunately, we don’t have a control arm with bushings and ball joint installed.

      It is common to notice more vibration in the cabin with polyurethane control arm bushings, but the extreme examples usually refer to older generations of poly bushings. Manufacturers have come a long way since poly bushings were first introduced and now special formulas allow for softer bushings that, while much firmer than rubber, provide a tolerable daily drive.

      Really it all comes down to: What kind of driving are you doing?

      If you want tighter cornering at higher speeds then you might overlook the added vibration of polyurethane for the sake of maintaining wheel geometry during a turn, but if you’re looking for the smoothest ride possible then rubber bushings will almost always be your go-to. This isn’t the case for endlink grommets and sway bar to frame bushings since you can replace rubber with polyurethane and reduce body roll which improves cornering, and still retain the comfort level of your original bushings.

      I spoke with our experienced ASE certified mechanic on staff and he said that he’s never encountered frame damage that was caused by cornering with polyurethane bushings. Even though the bushings are firmer, and resist shape change from high lateral loads, they are still have some give and shouldn’t cause any damage to the steel under your car.

      Has anyone heard of or experienced damage from a too-stiff suspension after a hard turn? We would love to hear about it.

      Thanks for the comment Mike. Hope this was helpful.

  15. Very informative and thorough write-up, Josh! I have a 1997 S-10 with +233k miles with various upgrades over the past 18 or so years. The suspension is fairly stock, lowered with spindles up front, blocks out back, and ZQ8 springs all around, and is desperate need for an upgrade/rehab. My question relates to mixing poly and rubber bushings, specifically the body mounts. My theory is this: I can upgrade and enjoy the benefits of poly suspension bushings in the sway bar, control arms, and motor/trans mounts (already done) but use factory style rubber body mounts to help dampen any NHV felt in the cab. Does that make sense? How much of a difference do poly cab mounts make in body roll when compared to new rubber mounts and assuming everything else is poly? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hey Steven,

      It is a great write up, but I can’t take credit for it and I will pass along your praise to Drew!

      Mixing polyurethane and rubber bushings is a question that we get occasionally at Suspension.com. Trying to find that sweet spot between comfort, performance, and longevity can be a real challenge and we’ve spoken to some poly bushing manufacturers about their thoughts on the subject. I just spoke with a tech from Energy Suspension about your specific question concerning body mounts and body roll.

      The long and short of his response was that it will probably make very little difference. The shocks and sway bars are going to have much more say over the lateral load dynamics of your S10, while the mounts are more like cartilage between the frame and the body. The tech said there could be a quarter inch difference in body roll between rubber and poly body mounts, but not much more than that.

      As far as reducing NVH, rubber body mounts are no doubt softer. The catch is once those body mounts compress with the weight of your S10’s body you’re going to lose some of that cushion. Poly bushings don’t compress after install so the height of the bushing out of the box is what you’ll have miles down the road.

      As with most suspension questions it all comes down to the drivers preference. Some folks barely notice an increase in NVH with poly body mounts, others swear their fillings are coming loose. Some want the smoothest ride possible while others like a little “feedback” from their vehicle. There isn’t a hard and fast rule here, but if you’re planning on putting another 200K on your S10 then I would suggest going with the poly mounts. If the comfort difference is small then you might as well go with the part that has a lifetime warranty.

      Hope this helped with your decision, Stephen. If you have any other questions or clarifications please feel free to give our customer service team a call.

      1. Thank you for the reply (and Drew for the write up). I think I’ll give the poly mounts a try, if for nothing but the fact that’ I’ll never have to replace them again. If I have all my fillings after the first few thousand miles, I’ll probably be alright. Now to figure out the “best” option for the control arms…

  16. polyurathane aint the ants pants full stop,theyll crumble,ive used various brands three/four times the price of rubber on a few cars and they sort of break down faster than rubber,initially they seem ok.

    1. Hey Dave,

      Thanks for the comment. Do you happen to have any pictures of those crumbling poly bushings? We’ve not encountered that and we’ve been shipping poly bushings to folks for nearly 15 years. If you could tell us what brands those bushings were we’d really like to know and how long ago you had this experience. The industry has come a long way since the first urethane bushings were introduced and most manufacturers offer lifetime warranties these days, and they wouldn’t be in business long if they were having to send customers free bushings all the time.

      The most common problem that sometimes occurs with poly bushings is that when they aren’t properly lubricated they experience “stiction” and can bind and oval out in some situations, but we’ve had very little experience with anyone sending back a polyurethane bushing because of wear, and we carry a lifetime warranty on all poly bushings we sell at Suspension.com.

  17. Wow what a read, I have a 98 Toyota Prado with 335000 on the clock, about to replace the lower ball joints again after a few years this time with a 555 brand but also not sure which lower control arm bushes to use (Rubber/Poly) I have also had a new steering rack replaced 14 months ago which I had the super pro bushes put in with this also the shocker struts with super pro as well, so I was debating with super pro or Original Rubber for Lowrr Control Arms bushes, the Prado is our family daily driver & we do drive interstate but also like to use on 4×4 tracks not major extreme but just to use what the beast is made for as well, by writing this I think I’m back to being keen on the Super Pro’s as my tires are noisy on the road anyway plus with the 4×4 full of kids this would possibly draw out any more noise gained, only issue Is my dash has always rattled flat out over bumps anyway so we’ll see how this turns out I guess fingers crossed.

    1. Hey Ben,

      It’s hard to go wrong with SuperPro bushings. They work hard to match the hardness or softness of the polyurethane they use to the specific application so you get the performance without giving up comfort.

      If you’re worried about SuperPro’s lower control arm bushings causing more noise, vibration, or harshness in your Prado just know that SuperPro actually warranties their parts for NVH. With that in mind, you might as well get the part that’s going to keep your wheel camber steady longer.

      Can’t help you with the munchkin noise though. Bushings like that would be worth their weight in silence.

      Good luck with the new bushes Ben.

  18. I have four early 90’s Toyota Celica’s in the family, two of which are the rare All-Tracs (turbo all-wheel-drive). They are all meticulously restored and will not see racing or off-road use. However, their suspensions are all original factory (rubber bushings that are all at least 25 years in service now). A couple of these should consider bushing replacements. I prefer to get the same road/ride feel these cars had when new and out of the showroom, not something stiffer. But the factory OEM bushings (rubber) are pretty much discontinued from the manufacturer now. It appears the only route I have left is to go with polyurethane bushings. I know the original rubber bushings have a ShoreA hardness of around 60-65 ShA. Most polyurethane bushings on the market are in the 75-80 ShA range, which is going to be too stiff for me. One manufacturer of polyurethane bushings said they can provide them in a 65 ShA hardness, but they sell very few of these because most who buy polyurethane bushings want the stiffer ones to be able to race/off-road with. Not me. If the 65 ShA polyurethane bushings have all the benefits of the typical harder polyurethane bushings, but provide the same ride feel and characteristics of the rubber bushings, this would seem like a no-brainer to me. But do you see any negative consequences going to the softer polyurethane bushings (such as less life, wear out faster, etc.)?

    1. Hey Jerry,

      We talked to an expert over at SuperPro, who makes very high quality polyurethane bushings, and we were told that between rubber and polyurethane there shouldn’t be an increase in NVH (noise, vibration, or hardness) when using the same durometer bushing. There are also places where you can install harder bushings with no increase in NVH like the sway bar bushings or endlink grommets, allowing for better response from your suspension with the same comfort level.

      The great thing about about polyurethane is its longevity, even in lower levels of hardness. Rubber will have to be replaced multiple times in the life of your car while high quality polyurethane from brands like SuperPro or Energy Suspension will last long after your vehicle has been retired. A softer poly bushing will last just as long, but will allow for more deflection compared to a harder alternative which allows the suspension parts to move or flex a little more and makes for a comfortable ride. Polyurethane also works well as it is very resistant to engine chemicals, road salts, heat, and other factors that typically weaken rubber, greatly increasing the lifespan. This will likely be fine for what you’re trying to get out of them, but if you ever want to take your Celica racing in the future you might want to invest in harder bushings.

      Hope this helps, Jerry.

  19. In my experience poly bushings only last 5 to 10 years
    Less if your really beating on it.
    But stock rubber ones last 15 to 20
    Most of the trucks I work on are at least 30 years old and still have the factory bushings.
    I like the poly bushings because they are so easy to put in .

    1. Hey Bill,

      Is this recently that you’ve noticed a shorter lifespan on those poly bushings? I only ask because polyurethane bushings have been around for a while and in the beginning, they had a reputation for being too hard and having a lifespan like what you’re describing. There have been a lot of advances in the formulas that manufacturers use to make their bushings and these days most manufacturers will carry a lifetime warranty on their poly bushings. DST covers all poly bushings we sell with a lifetime warranty, even on brands that don’t have a manufacturer lifetime warranty.

      We’ve seen lots of examples of rubber bushings that aren’t nearly 30 years old and are hollowed out or just falling apart altogether. We have a local customer who was having trouble with the body mount bushings on his fleet of F-Series Fords. They are used for hauling large loads of hay and he kept having to replace the rubber bushings because they would just get crushed under the continual stress. He has converted to polyurethane body mounts and they are holding up much better.

      Now, body mounts aren’t an articulating position, but we have also seen some poly bushings that had been installed on a Jeep YJ 20+ years ago and hadn’t even been regreased in all that time. They were still in good enough shape that the owner used them in the new leaf springs that he installed on his Jeep.

      Not discounting your experience, just sharing what we’ve seen as well. Poly bushings do have some drawbacks but overall I think they still have rubber beat on longevity.

      Anyone else have some experiences with the longevity of rubber bushings vs polyurethane?

      Thanks for sharing Bill.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *

Skip to toolbar