1996 Ford Explorer Repair Question
Ford Explorer Bushing Problem
Never ignore a squeak on a Ford. They have way more steering and suspension part failures leading to crashes than anyone else. The most common problem is the lower ball joints. I ran into one that checked fine one day, started squeaking a few weeks later, and separated 700 miles after that. Luckily that didn't happen at highway speed. Have it inspected at a tire and alignment shop. I would be really nervous driving it there but if spraying a lubricant on the control arm bushings quieted the noise, that would be less severe. Those can't separate. In fact, those WILL squeak for a long time before they start clunking and causing steering wander and tire wear. Shock absorbers do have rubber bushings but those are the least likely to become noisy since they don't go through as much twisting as control arm bushings do.
Silicone Spray Lube makes rubber parts slide REAL easily on metal parts, and that is not the goal with control arm bushings. It works great for sluggish window tracks and seat belts, and for sliding on tight heater hoses, but when control arm bushings make noise it's because the rubber is torn loose from the metal sleeves and the moving against that metal sets up the squeak. You want there to be no sliding. All the movement is supposed to be taken up by the twisting of the rubber. Silicone Spray Lube is thin enough to wash into where the bushing is torn loose but it really doesn't lubricate. It evaporates quickly and leaves a film of "slippery" behind but with the grinding that's occurring that film will be gone very soon.
A better alternative, although this is in no way a fix or a cure, is Spray White Lube. That's what Chrysler calls it but I'm sure other manufacturers have the same stuff. It is a lithium-based grease with a liquid. The liquid soaks into tight places and takes the grease with it, then the liquid evaporates and leaves the grease behind.
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