Carson Cars Discusses Problems with Your Car’s Suspension System

November 17, 2011  

Every vehicle’s suspension system is comprised of multiple components that are designed to work together to provide a smooth ride. Over time, even with proper maintenance, suspension system components do suffer the ravages of wear and tear. The Everett Suspension System Experts at Carson Cars has compiled a guide to determine when your car’s suspension should be inspected and repaired by their technicians. If your vehicle is:

Pulling to One Side

Possible causes:

  •  Uneven or Low Tire Pressure – check the tire pressure on all four tires and fill/remove air as indicated by manufacturer recommendation per your Owner’s Manual
  • Uneven Tread Wear – visually check wear on all four tires
  • Mis-aligned – Carson Cars Transmission Specialists will check your car’s alignment and adjust/re-align as indicated
  • Steering Component Failure – tie-rods and steering rack must be inspected and replaced as indicated
  • Brake Caliper Malfunction – occasionally, brake calipers can stick; a full inspection of the vehicle’s brake system is required with repair/replacement as indicated
Wheel Shimmy:  Flip-Flop

This is when the wheels of your vehicle wander and shimmy back and forth rapidly. Possible causes:

  •  Uneven or Low Tire Pressure – check the tire pressure on all four tires and fill/remove air as indicated by manufacturer recommendation per your Owner’s Manual
  • Uneven Tread Wear – visually check wear on all four tires
  • Unbalanced Wheels – if one or more wheels are out of balance, shimmy can occur. Conaway can check your vehicle’s alignment and repair if necessary.
  • Mis-aligned – Everett Transmission Specialists at Carson Cars will check your car’s alignment and adjust/re-align as indicated
  • Steering Component Failure – tie-rods and steering rack must be inspected and replaced as indicated
Porpoising

So, as fun as this may be – bouncing and dipping over every bumpy, uneven road surface – chances are:

  • Your shocks or struts are worn  – inspect and replace as indicated
  • Your leaf spring is broken or missing – inspect and replace as indicated
Steering Slips

If your vehicle’s steering seems to slip out of position (whether turning or holding in a turned position), the problem could be:

  • Steering Fluid Low – inspect and replace as indicated
  • Steering Belt Worn – if the belt is excessively worn or loose, the steering may slip; inspect and replace/tighten as indicated.
  • Power Steering Pump – if the pump is malfunctioning, fluid cannot flow properly; inspect and repair/replace as indicated
  • Power Steering Rack Leaky – inspect and replace as indicated
  • Rack Mounts Broken – inspect and repair/replace/tighten as indicated

Difficult to Steer

If the steering wheel is difficult to turn, particularly at lower speeds, the problem could be:

  • Steering Fluid Low – inspect and replace as indicated
  • Steering Belt Worn – if the belt is excessively worn or loose, the steering may slip; inspect and replace/tighten as indicated.
  • Power Steering Pump – if the pump is malfunctioning, fluid cannot flow properly; inspect and repair/replace as indicated
  • Power Steering Rack Leaky – inspect and replace as indicated
  • Rack Mounts Broken – inspect and repair/replace/tighten as indicated
Steering is Loose or Sloppy

If your car’s steering seems to have excessive ‘play’, the potential causes could be:

  • Steering Fluid Low – inspect and replace as indicated
  • Strut Bearings Worn – inspect and replace as indicated
  • Tie-rods or Steering Rack Broken – inspect and replace/repair as indicated
  • Ball joints worn – inspect and replace as indicated
  • Rack Mounts Broken – inspect and repair/replace/tighten as indicated

Clunking

Should your steering wheel knock or clunk when going over bumps, the problem may be:

  • Shocks or Struts Worn – inspect and replace as indicated
  • Strut Bearings Worn – inspect and replace as indicated
  • Ball joints worn – inspect and replace as indicated

Vibration at High Speed

Should you feel a definite vibration through your steering wheel while traveling at any constant, especially high speeds, the problem may be:

  • Unbalanced Wheels – verify and balance as indicated
  • Uneven Tire Wear – Inspect and replace as indicated
  • Wheel Bolts Loose – Inspect and rectify problem as indicated
  • Brake Rotor(s) Warped – inspect and replace/machine as indicated

Screaming & Screeching Sound (ouch!)

Should your steering emit a loud screech when operating at extremely low speeds (parking for example), the problem is likely:

  • Steering Fluid Low – inspect and replace as indicated
  • Steering Belt Worn or Loose – if the belt is excessively worn or loose, the steering may slip; inspect and replace/tighten as indicated.