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Troubleshooting Problems With Steering and Suspension

More help in troubleshooting and diagnosing the shimmies, wiggles and shakes.


Uneven tire wear.

Uneven tire wear is both a problem and a symptom.

photo CC licensed by @Chris
... continued from previous page.

Symptom: Steering wheel vibrates at speed. Excessive vibration while traveling a constant speed, especially highway speeds.

Symptom: Loose or sloppy steering. Steering has excessive play and wanders from side to side.

  • Power steering fluid low - check power steering fluid and add if needed.
  • Worn strut bearings - inspect strut bearings for play and replace in pairs.
  • Worn or broken tie rods or steering rack - inspect steering components and replace as necessary.
  • Worn ball joints - inspect ball joints and replace if needed.
  • Broken steering rack mounts - inspect steering rack mounts and repair or replace (some cars can be fixed, others require replacement of the entire steering rack.)

Symptom: Clunking over bumps. Feeling clunks and knocks through the steering wheel when you go over bumps or even cracks in the road.

  • Worn shocks or struts - replace shocks and/or struts as indicated.
  • Worn strut bearings - inspect strut bearings and replace both if needed.
  • Worn ball joints - inspect ball joints for play and replace if needed.

Symptom: Screeching and screaming. Steering emits loud screeching when steering at low speeds, such as parking.

  • Low power steering fluid - add power steering fluid as needed.
  • Loose power steering belt - adjust power steering belt.
  • Worn power steering belt - replace and adjust power steering belt.

Remember, this is a guide to help you diagnose steering or suspension problems. Sometimes more than one issue needs to be addressed to fix the symptoms.

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