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Symptoms of bad steering and suspension

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As you know, steering and suspension parts are safety-critical, so it's important that you routinely check steering and suspension components and replace any that show signs of wear. If a part is worn or failing, the issues below could result.  

Symptoms and what they could mean:  

Double wishbone
Double wishbone on the front suspension.

Vehicle continually pulls to one side while driving 

  • Ball joint 
  • Bushings 
  • Tie rod end 
  • Uneven tire wear/inflation 
  • Steering rack 
  • May need alignment  

Continued bouncing after hitting a bump or pothole 

  • Shocks or struts 
  • Leaf spring 

A steering pull or drift to one side after turning 

  • Bushings 
  • Ball joints 
  • Tie rod end 
  • Rack and pinion 
  • Uneven tire wear 

Steering slips while turning the wheel 

  • Bushings 
  • Ball joints 
  • Tie rod end 
  • Rack and pinion 
  • Uneven tire wear 
  • Strut bearings 
  • Rack mount 

Loose or sloppy steering: excessive play or wandering from side to side 

  • Tie rod end 
  • Ball joint 
  • Bushings 
  • Rack and pinion 
  • Strut bearings 
  • Rack mount 

Excessive steering wheel vibration 

  • Ball joint 
  • Bushings 
Independent rear axle with a coil spring/shock configuration.
Independent rear axle with a coil spring/shock configuration.

Steering veers to one side when driving over a bump or during hard acceleration 

  • Ball joint 
  • Control arm 
  • Tie rod ends 

Steering wheel bounces up and down at highway speeds or when braking 

  • Wheels out of balance 
  • Uneven tire wear/inflation 
  • Loose wheel bolts 
  • Brake rotors 

Difficulty in turning the wheel 

  • Steering belt 
  • Power steering fluid level low (possibly leaking) 
  • Steering rack 
  • Power steering pump 

A knocking or clunking sound 

  • Control arm 
  • Bushings 
  • Ball joint 
  • Tie rod end 

If noises occur while turning, check:  

  • Ball joint 
  • Tie rod end 
  • Steering pump belt 
  • Steering pump 

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