Torque rods may not be a pre-trip inspection item, but that doesn’t mean they can’t impact your safety scores. In fact, worn or broken torque rods — like all suspension violations — carry a seven-point severity rating, which can affect both the vehicle’s owner and its driver. Only tire defects and driving an out-of-service vehicle are considered more dangerous.

But if you can’t see your torque rods during a walk-around or routine inspection, how can you judge whether they’re still in good condition? Here are some things to watch for:

  • Unstable steering, such as shaking or swaying during lane changes
  • Wandering when traveling in a straight line
  • Thumping sounds during deceleration or when driving around curves
  • Unusual tire wear, such as feathering, cupping or odd tread patterns
  • Cracks in brackets or the frame due to degraded shock dampening performance
  • Rattling sounds or increased road noise
  • A loss of ride height

These can all be signs of cracked or broken torque rods, or worn bushings, and should be checked immediately. Even if you don’t experience any of these symptoms, it’s still important to visually inspect your torque rods and bushings every six months or 50,000 miles for signs of wear.

Severe-duty vehicles should be inspected more frequently, because their massive loads can speed up bushing degradation and suspension misalignment. Vehicles that run light or empty a high percentage of the time should also be inspected more frequently, since the bouncing common with unloaded suspensions can damage critical components.

Shopping for Suspension Parts?
The best way to prevent premature suspension wear is to choose quality parts. While many aftermarket torque rods feature rubber bushings, a rod with polyurethane bushings may be a better choice. Unlike traditional rubber bushings, which can deteriorate quickly when touched by petroleum products, polyurethane bushings are impervious to oil and grease, as well as rock salt, cleaning solvents, and hydraulic and diesel fuels. Also, polyurethane is at least twice as strong as rubber. That means they can last two to five times longer than their rubber counterparts, reducing downtime over the life of the vehicle.

Another good idea is to choose torque rods with free-rotation bushings or a two-piece weldable rod design. These options can reduce the need to stock multiple part numbers, freeing up capital and stockroom shelf space.

When it’s time for your next suspension repair, count on the experts at your local Volvo dealership to help find the best components for your fleet. We’ve got high-quality torque rods and polyurethane bushings available in both kits or for individual purchase. Or, visit the SELECT Part Store™ 24/7 for exclusive discounts on high-demand parts and supplies for your Volvo Truck.