STEERING AND SUSPENSION
Common Steering and Suspension issues
Steering and suspension issues can be hard to identify. Sometimes fixing the problem can be as simple as correctly inflating the tyres or having the tyres rotated. This, unfortunately, isn’t always the case so a visit to your auto shop may be required to fault find and replace worn or damaged components.
It’s usually easy to notice symptoms, but confirming the cause is another thing. Faulty or worn out shock absorbers, struts, springs and steering joints can create a variety of issues in the way your car handles and can be extremely dangerous.
Suspension and steering wear can evolve into a major catastrophe if symptoms of a developing issue are ignored. Ensure you address any unnatural noises or strange behavior as soon as they are noticed.
Common issues to be on the lookout for:-
1. Steering pulling to one side.
Pulling to the left or right is the most common sign of a suspension or steering issue. Besides ensuring your tyres are correctly inflated, there is very little an inexperienced person can do to correctly diagnose the cause. Accurate wheel alignment is imperative to maintain the safe and effective control of the vehicle under varied road conditions. Incorrect alignment causes uneven tyre wear, steering pull, and even, higher fuel consumption.
Common causes of steering pull are:-
Uneven tyre pressure
Uneven tyre wear
Steering rack/box wear.
Worn steering joints
Hitting curbs and deep potholes can knock wheel alignment out, create wear to, or damaged steering components.
2. Feeling every bump in the road.
A rough or bouncy ride could be symptoms of worn shock absorbers or struts so a visit to the auto shop is needed to check it out.
A simple test to check the shocks is to press down heavily on the one corner of the car above the wheel then release quickly. If the body rises up and bounces two or three times the shocks or struts are worn out and need to be replaced.
If your car is fitted with leaf springs, symptoms of a broken spring could be the car leaning low on one side another signal to consider having it checked out by an authorised repairer.
5. Hard Steering and/or strange noises
If your steering is difficult to turn whilst the car is moving or there are scraping/squealing noises, something may be wrong with the steering or suspension. The issue could be an easy fix like a slipping power steering belt or it could be a lot worse so getting the car checked over by an authorised repairer is the wisest choice you could make.
Common causes of hard steering can be:
Low power steering fluid
Loose or worn power steering belt
Steering pump issues
Leaking steering rack
Worn control arm bushings
It's impossible to cover all the possible causes of abnormal steering and suspension behavior as the possible culprits are many. The general rule of thumb is, if you are in any doubt about the way your car is handling, the safest and most sensible choice is to take it into the auto repair shop for a check over.