Suspension and Steering Problems?

If you would like to make sure that your car is safe to drive and will get you from point A to point B safe and sound, here is a list of some steering and suspension problems and their probable causes. Some of these solutions are quite easy and require little time but will make a significant improvement to your car's handling and performance:

                                                   Abnormal Tire Wear


PROBABLE CAUSE
REMEDY
Incorrect tire inflation pressure. Check and Inflate to recommended air pressure.
Improper wheel alignment setting (camber and toe). Adjust to factory specifications.
Tire imbalance (cupped wear). Balance tires.
Worn tire rod ends. Replace tie rod assemblies.
Worn ball joints or suspension bushings. Replace ball joints or bushings.
Worn shocks or struts. Replace shocks or struts.
Bent control arm or spindle. Replace control arm or spindle.
Loose wheel bearings. Adjust or replace bearings.

                                                   Car Pulls To One Side


PROBABLE CAUSE
REMEDY
Uneven tire pressure. Check and Inflate to recommended air pressure.
Mismatched tires. Replace all tires.
Improper front wheel alignment setting (caster and camber). Adjust to factory specifications.
Improper rear wheel alignment (adjustment or bent parts). Adjust to factory specifications or replace parts.
Worn ball joints or suspension bushings. Replace ball joints or bushings.
Dragging brake. Check for mechanical or hydraulic problem.
Inoperative brake on opposite side. Check for seized caliper, brake fluid leak or restriction, worn or contaminated brake linings.
Power steering rack or box defective. Replace or repair power steering unit.

                                                   Car Wanders Side-To-Side


PROBABLE CAUSE
REMEDY
Worn tie rod ends. Replace tie rod assembly.
Improper front wheel alignment setting (too little positive caster). Adjust to factory specifications.
Low tire pressure. Check and Inflate to recommended air pressure.
Loose wheel bearings. Adjust or replace bearings.
Worn idler arm or pitman arm. Replace idler arm or pitman arm.
Worn suspension bushings. Replace bushings.
Worn struts or shock absorbers. Replace struts or shocks.

                                                   Excessive Play In Steering


PROBABLE CAUSE
REMEDY
Loose steering gear adjustment. Adjust steering gear to specifications.
Loose steering gear mounting. Tighten steering gear mounting bolts.
Worn tie rod ends. Replace tie rod assemblies.
Loose wheel bearings. Adjust or replace bearings.
Worn idler arm or pitman arm. Replace idler arm or pitman arm.

                                                   Hard Steering While Car Is Rolling


PROBABLE CAUSE
REMEDY
Low tire pressure. Check and Inflate to recommended air pressure.
Binding in steering linkage. Check for interference, lack of lubricant.
Tight steering gear adjustment. Adjust steering gear to factory specifications.
Improper front wheel alignment specifications. Adjust to factory specifications (too much positive caster).
Failure in power steering system. Check fluid level, belt, pump, hoses, and pressure valve.

                                                   Hard Steering While Car Is Still


PROBABLE CAUSE
REMEDY
Low tire pressure. Check and Inflate to recommended air pressure.
Binding in steering linkage. Check for interference, lack of lubricant.
Tight steering gear adjustment. Adjust steering gear to factory specifications.
Failure in power steering system. Check fluid level, belt, pump, hoses, and pressure valve.

                                                   Front Wheel Shimmy


PROBABLE CAUSE
REMEDY
Tire imbalance. Balance tires.
Bent wheel. Replace wheel.
Worn or loose wheel bearings. Adjust or replace bearings.
Improper wheel alignment setting (too much positive caster). Adjust to factory specifications.
Worn hydraulic steering damper. Replace steering damper.

                                                   Clunking Noise Over Bumps


PROBABLE CAUSE
REMEDY
Loose shock absorber mountings. Tighten nuts, or replace bushings.
Loose strut mounting nut. Tighten or replace mounting nut.
Worn shocks or struts. Replace struts or shocks.
Deteriorated suspension bushings. Replace bushings.

                                                   Power Steering Noise


PROBABLE CAUSE
REMEDY
Squealing noise: loose, worn or contaminated pump belt. Adjust or replace belt.
Groaning noise: low fluid level. Fill pump reservoir with proper fluid.
Whining noise: worn pump bearings. Rebuild or replace power steering pump.
Growling noise: fluid restriction, or defective pump or steering gear. Check fluid flow, pump output, then steering gear.
Hissing noise while turning with car stationary. This is a normal operation.

                                                   Steering Wheel Pull/Shimmy When Braking


PROBABLE CAUSE
REMEDY
Uneven braking force. Check for mechanical or hydraulic problem.
Inoperative brake. Check for seized caliper, fluid leak or restriction, worn or contaminated lining.
Weak or broken spring. Replace spring.
Worn shocks or struts. Replace struts or shocks.
Deteriorated suspension bushings (especially control arm pivot). Replace bushings.
Loose wheel bearings. Adjust or replace bearings.
Excessive disc brake rotor run-out. Replace both front or rear brake discs or rotors.
Improper front wheel alignment settings. Adjust alignment to factory specifications.