Notice that your car is starting to swerve to a certain side while you’re driving or the drive seems a lot bumpier than usual? You are not alone and in fact these are very common problems that happen to all the models of cars. What you’re noticing is the steering and suspension might need to be fixed or updated.
Suspension and steering are two very integral parts of an automobile and shouldn’t be ignored when they start to show signs of wear. Bad suspension in a car can lead to it breaking altogether, which means costly repairs or having to find a replacement. If your steering isn’t fixed within a timely manner, it can lead to improper or poor steering and potentially an auto accident.
Fortunately, fixing steering and suspension problems is an easy fix. Most auto repair shops will do a diagnostics check to rule out any major problems and will tell you what needs to be fixed. However, auto repair shops also are best for major problems. Simple suspension and steering problems can be fixed right from your garage and these tips below can help you.
How Your Car’s Steering and Suspension System Works
Vehicles are equipped with either reciprocating ball steering or rack and pinion steering.
Reciprocating ball steering uses a network of links and arms to guarantee that all four wheels revolve at the same time. It employs a steering box to regulate the movement of the steering wheel and column and links it to the wheel movement functions.
Rack and pinion steering involves connecting the steering wheel and column to a rack, which moves a piston as the wheels revolve.
The suspension system connects your car’s body to the wheels via a series of shocks. The suspension system is in charge of ensuring that your wheels are in contact with the road and that you have a smooth ride when driving. The suspension system includes a number of components that absorb the impact of the road while you drive, such as springs, shocks, and struts.
Signs That Your Steering and Suspension Need Repair
Steering Is Pulling To One Side
You start driving and immediately notice that your car swerves off to one side without you steering in that particular direction. There could be several things causing this, such as:
Low or uneven tire pressure, which can be easily fixed by inflating tires.
In the same vein, uneven tire tread. Make sure all of your tires have been replaced recently.
The wheel alignment might have gone “bad” and needs to be realigned once more.
The tire rods and steering rack might need to be updated, replaced, or even repaired.
Make sure to also check your brakes for uneven wear, overheating, and other issues as this might cause veering in your car.
Bad Suspension or “Porpoising”
When your drive becomes uncomfortable because of all the bumps, diving, bouncing, or dipping from your car then this is a clear sign of something being wrong with your suspension. The actual term for this is “porpoising” and there are a couple things that might need to be addressed when this starts to happen:
Your shocks might have worn down, which is common in all cars. Once they start to wear down you’ll notice the car will bump and dive a little bit more than usual and having the shocks replaced is simple. The same goes for any struts that are also part of your suspension system. You can do these repairs easily at home.
Also look for any broken or worn leaf springs that might need to be repaired or replaced. If you can’t find them or don’t know where to look you can always have a mechanic look for you and fix the issue.
How To Fix Steering and Suspension
Changing Shock Absorbers and Struts
Worn shocks can increase the distance it takes to stop on a rough, damp, or slippery surface over time. Worn-out shocks and struts also increase suspension wear, which can lead to excessive tire wear.
The most typical purpose for replacing shocks or struts, however, is to improve the overall quality of your ride. If your car shakes or bounces a lot more than it should, replacing your shocks or struts will tighten up your suspension and stabilize your ride.
Additionally, depending on how you use your car, updating certain sorts of equipment may be beneficial. Premium shocks or struts filled with high-pressure nitrogen gas will assist to reduce foaming in the hydraulic fluid inside the shock. This, in turn, aids the vehicle’s ride control during cornering. There are also “heavy-duty” shocks and struts with bigger piston diameters that provide more resistance and control. Because they are frequently too harsh for ordinary driving, many include specific adjustable valving that allows the level of resistance to be varied. Finally, overload or air-assist shocks are ideal for carrying trailers or heavy loads. Overload shocks are encircled by a coil spring to improve the suspension’s carrying capacity, whereas air-assist shocks include adjustable air bladders that function as springs when bearing additional weight.
Shocks and struts are frequently changed in pairs, however this is not always necessary if just one shock or strut is broken. Whether it’s one or two, changing struts usually necessitates suspension removal and wheel adjustment, so it’s a task best left to the pros.
Tightening Any Nuts or Bolts
After noticing that your car isn’t riding as smoothly as it used to, most people tend to assume that the suspension has finally gone bad. Also, the steering might feel “off” because something needs to be fixed or the power steering fluid needs to be replaced. Before diving into a big auto project or purchasing the wrong fix for your car, first do a sweep check of your nuts and bolts.
In particular, you’re going to be looking at the mounting nuts and bolts as they are directly part of the suspension. Notice they are becoming loose? This is an easy fix; just tighten them back up and you won’t have to buy expensive new parts or anything else. If you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, auto repair shops near you can always do this for you quickly and cheaply.
Some of these issues can be easily fixed from your own garage, but when it comes to tire rods, steering racks, and brakes, you will want to find any auto repair shops nearby that can do these fixes for you. Let professional automobile mechanics help you with sourcing the right parts and make sure it is installed correctly.