If you count drive time as an upper body workout because your car wants to turn when you want to go straight, you may have steering system problems.
Does your car dip or rock when you go over bumps or drift around corners even at low speeds? If you answered yes, it may be time to replace your vehicle’s shocks or struts.
Because potholes and rough road surfaces don’t just make for a bad ride, they can affect the alignment of your wheels. Misaligned wheels can cause a host of problems, including uneven tire wear.
Shocks and Struts
When it comes to absorbing the shocks of the road, you’d think the shock absorbers would take care of everything. But you’d only be half right. Actually, coil or leaf springs handle the abuse of the road. Your shock absorbers handle the abuse caused by the rebound of the springs. They both work together to keep your vehicle under control. And those two components, plus a variety of control arms, shafts, rods, bushings, joints, and knuckles make up what’s commonly called a conventional car suspension. Many larger SUVs and pickup trucks still use this time-tested design.
Many of today’s front-wheel drive cars have a strut suspension system that combines the control arms and shock absorbers of a conventional car suspension into one unit, eliminating the need for a lot of other components. Struts cost more, but they do more than conventional shock absorbers and have fewer components to maintain.
Steering & Suspension FAQs
Q: I can feel every bump in the road when I drive. Should I get a new suspension?
A: Not necessarily, but if your vehicle is bouncing excessively even when you hit the smallest of bumps, it may be sign that your shocks and struts are worn out. An inspection will tell us for sure.
Q: My car’s suspension makes noises when I drive less than 25mph. What could be the cause of this, and should I be worried?
A: It could be your anti-sway bar bushing and/or links, your control arm bushings, ball joints, tie rod ends, springs, struts or a host of chassis items. Long story short, stop by at your earliest convenience, and we’ll take a look.
Q: My steering wheel feels stuck. Could it be jammed?
A: This is a common issue as a result of having turned sharply say, into a parking space and then removing your key before straightening your tires. The key may be hard to turn if your ignition is mounted onto your steering column. Not what you mean? Come see us, and we’ll take a look.
Q: When I take my hand off the wheel, the car pulls to the left. Why is it doing that?
A: Usually, pulling complaints are related to tires. Radial pull is a slang term for “radial angulation”, but a bent frame, steering component and a host of other things could also be at play. We’ll take a look and let you know for sure.
Q: My car’s suspension is starting to make squeak-like noises. What’s the best way to grease it up?
A: Actually, most cars made within the past 20 years don’t have grease fittings, but something definitely needs service. Stop by, and we’ll let you know exactly what.
Q: My steering column shakes when I brake hard. Is this normal?
A: Nope, that’s definitely not normal. Your brake rotors are probably the culprit here, but we’ll take a look and let you know for sure.
Q: What is the difference between shocks & struts?
A: Shocks and struts are basically the same thing, but a strut is generally larger. The basic function of a shock or strut is to keep the tire in contact with the road. With the exception of air shocks, shocks and struts do not support the weight of the vehicle. That is normally done with springs or torsion bars.