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Troubleshooting Steering & Suspension Problems Part 1

Squeals, shimmys, vibrations. What does it all mean? Here's some things to look for when your car is not behaving as it should.
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» Part 1: Bouncing
» Part 2: Pulling
» Part 3: Shimmy
 

The steering and suspension systems of the car are fairly robust and generally not too much goes wrong with them. With the advent of rack and pinion steering and the use of MacPherson strut suspensions, a lot of moving parts have been eliminated. Things still can go wrong and cause a vehicle to become hard to control. When something is wrong the very least that will happen is your tires will wear out very quickly and at most, lead to an accident.

As with any car problem, the causes can range from a mere inconvenience to major repair. Here are some things to look for when you have a car that doesn't handle or respond properly.

You should note that these are the most likely causes of a particular problem, but not necessarily the cause of the problem you are experiencing. Some of the possible causes listed may not even apply to your vehicle.

  • Car seems to bounce too much :
    When you are driving down the road and hit a bump the vehicle keeps bouncing for a while. This will gradually get worse as time goes by.

    Possible causes:
    1. The shock absorbers are worn or leaking: Replace shock absorbers.

    2. The shock mounts for the shock absorbers are broken or bent: Repair or replace mounts as required.

    ~~~~~~~~~~

  • Steering wheel is hard to turn :
    You find that it is getting more difficult to turn the steering wheel. It feels like something is binding or dragging. This may or may not happen suddenly or is getting worse over time.

    Possible causes:
    1. Low tire pressure: Check and adjust tire pressures.

    2. The wheels are out of alignment: Have the wheels aligned.

    3. The power steering box or rack or power steering pump is bad: Repair or replace steering gear or pump as required.

    4. The fluid level in the power steering reservoir is low: Fill fluid to proper level.

    5. The power steering drive belt is damaged or broken: Replace power steering drive belt.

    6. The steering gear needs to be lubricated or repaired: Lubricate or replace steering gear parts as required.

    ~~~~~~~~~~

  • Hard steering:
    You notice it takes much more strength to turn the steering wheel. This is especially noticed when you are trying to park. The problem seems to be getting worse.

    Possible causes:
    1. Low tire pressure: Check and adjust tire pressures.

    2. The steering gear needs to be lubricated: Lubricate steering gear parts as required.

    3. The wheels are out of alignment: Have the wheels aligned.

    4. A part of the steering linkage is damaged and doesn't not move freely: Replace steering gear parts as required.

    5. Your steering box needs to be adjusted: Adjust steering box as required.

    6. You have a problem with the power steering pump: Repair or replace power steering pump as required.

    ~~~~~~~~~~

  • Loose steering:
    You notice that the steering wheel is very easy to move and actually feels quite sloppy. It creates an uneasy feeling on the highway because it seems you have no control of your car. The problem seems to be getting worse.

    Possible causes:
    1. Steering linkage is worn and parts need to be replaced: Replace affected parts.

    2. Parts of the steering linkage are loose and need to be tightened: Tighten or replace loose parts as required.

    3. Your steering box needs to be adjusted: Adjust steering box as required.

    ~~~~~~~~~~

  • Power steering doesn't seem to be working:
    It takes a lot of effort to turn the steering wheel. In fact, at low speeds you can hardly turn it. The problem is less obvious at high speeds simply because you need to move the steering wheel less at those speeds. The problem may have occurred suddenly.

    Possible causes:
    1. No fluid in the power steering reservoir: Fill fluid to proper level.

    2. You have a bad power steering pump: Repair or replace power steering pump.

    3. The power steering drive belt is broken: Replace power steering drive belt.

    4. The fluid in the system is contaminated: Flush power steering out power steering fluid and replace with fresh clean fluid.

    5. You have a steering linkage problem: Repair or replace linkage parts as required..

       

    6. There is a leak in the power steering lines: Replace power steering lines as required.

    7. Low tire pressure: Check and adjust tire pressures.

More...
»
Part 1       » Part 2       » Part 3

Additional Information provided courtesy of
ALLDATAdiy.com and Warranty Direct
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