A trailing arm is one of the components of a motor vehicle’s linked rear suspension system. Its primary role is to connect the chassis, rear axle and shock absorbers. Because the shock absorbers are connected to the trailing arm it is responsible for supporting the weight of the vehicle. It must also deal with the tension and compression forces that are generated between the rear wheel and the vehicle’s chassis under a variety of driving conditions. This means that the trailing arm needs to have sufficient strength to withstand random road conditions and survive impacts from potholes, bumps, rocks and other road imperfections.
The trailing arm is connected to the vehicle slightly forward of the rear axle.
Because it is such an important component of a vehicle’s suspension system, if the trailing arm fails to work it will have an immediate effect on its driveability. Like most vehicle parts, a trailing arm is susceptible to wear and tear. Indications that a trailing arm has broken are a feel that the car is “wandering” from its rear, over-steering in adverse weather conditions and damage to the vehicle’s tyres, which can be severe.