Common Suspension and Steering Issues
Vehicle bottoms out: Unless you’re doing some serious off-roading, your vehicle should rarely bottom out. Your suspension is responsible for keeping the undercarriage of your car raised well above the asphalt, so that it’s components are never in danger of colliding with the surface of the road, even as you roll over bumps and potholes. If you notice that your vehicle is bottoming out in relatively normal driving conditions, then your suspension isn’t doing its job. You may need to have your shocks, struts, or springs replaced to give your suspension the ability to absorb those minor road obstacles.
Bouncing after bumps: This is another telltale sign that your suspension isn’t doing its job. If your vehicle continues to bounce up and down after you’ve gone over a bump, then it’s likely that part or all of your suspension components are worn down. For example, if your car bounces around the road after hitting a pothole, you may have bad struts in the front, rear, or on all sides of your vehicle. Your suspension is designed to keep your vehicle steady on the road — maintaining an even alignment even after you’ve hit a small obstacle. If you’ve noticed that your vehicle fails to realign quickly, then it’s time to have a mechanic take a look at your suspension.
Slow recovery from braking or accelerating: Even as you brake and accelerate, your vehicle should remain fairly well aligned, resting parallel over the road surface. However, if you have a failing suspension system, then you may notice that your vehicle dips and sags as you brake or speed up. These issues are signs that your suspension is worn out, which means that the momentum of your vehicle will cause it to dip towards the road. Again, this can prove dangerous and it can cause more wear and tear on your car, so it’s best to bring it in to the shop.
Speed wobbles and poor vehicle control: Speed wobbles can be caused by a variety of issues, including tire, alignment, and steering issues. If you have tires that are unevenly worn down, then they may want to steer the vehicle in a certain direction, or the individual treads of your tires may work against each other, causing your vehicle to wobble at higher speeds. You may also have poorly aligned wheels, which means that your tires will fight against each other, which will cause speed wobbles and faster tire wear. If your steering system isn’t well calibrated, you may also experience poor control and speed wobbles.
Pulling to the side: You shouldn’t have to fight your car to maintain control of its direction. If your vehicle is pulling to the side as you drive, then you may have an issue with the tires, alignment, brakes, or steering components of your vehicle. If you have uneven tire treads, then your vehicle may automatically pull in one direction or the other. Similarly, if your wheels are poorly aligned, then your vehicle will likely favor pulling towards a certain direction. If you have a locked up wheel caliper, then it will also cause your vehicle to pull to one side. And finally, if you have a steering issue (for instance, your tie rods or steering rack may be damaged) then your vehicle may not drive straight. We can assess your vehicle to locate the source of the issue if you’ve noticed that your car wants to pull to the side.
Uneven tire wear: Take a look at your tires. If you have tires with uneven wear then your wheels are likely poorly aligned, or you may have an issue with the suspension of your vehicle. Poor alignment can cause tires to pull and push against each other as they fight for traction on the road. This will cause your tire treads to be worn on one side, instead of even wear across the entire surface of the tire. You may also notice that your tire treads are worn in patches. This is an indication that your vehicle’s suspension is poor. If you have a worn-out suspension system, then you may cause uneven wear on your tires as you brake.