First-time Car Buyers: Tips for Navigating the Auto World

Understanding 2 Common Suspension And Steering Problems

Your car's suspension and steering systems are likely more complex than you realize. Not only do they encompass a variety of different components, from tires to sway bars and struts, but they can be easily damaged through poor maintenance or collisions. While all of these components may make it seem difficult to accurately diagnose the cause of problems, those with the right knowledge may still be able to pinpoint the problem. Read on to learn about two common suspension and steering problems and their potential causes.

Car Pulls To The Side

This is a frustrating and all too common issue to encounter. In some cases, the pull may remain quite mild. In other cases, however, you may find yourself having to actively resist the car's desire to pull toward one side or the other while you are driving. If you are lucky, the problem is caused simply by uneven tire pressure. Double check that all of your tires are inflated to the pressure recommended on their outer sidewall.

If uneven pressure has been allowed to go on too long, it may have led to uneven wear, especially on the front tires. If this is the case, you will likely still experience the problem even once your tires have been properly inflated. Depending on the severity of the issue, it may be necessary to invest in new tires.

Finally, this problem can be caused by more serious issues—ones that require either professional repair or the replacement of costly components. For instance, it may be the case that components such as tie rods or the steering rack have become damaged or altered in some way. Likewise, the problem may have its genesis in one or more brake calipers that are sticking. This will cause them to continue exerting friction—thus potentially altering your car's movement—even when your foot is not on the brake.

Steering Wheel Feels Like It's Slipping When You Turn

Another common issue involves a steering wheel that seems as though it is slipping back and forth when you are holding it in the turn position. You may even notice that it has become difficult to keep your car on the desired turning course. Always begin troubleshooting this issue by checking your power steering fluid level. An insufficient amount of this fluid can easily lead to inconsistencies in the behavior of your steering wheel.

The problem may also be caused by a power steering belt that is either excessively worn or has come loose from its track. In both cases, this can cause the power steering to seem to go in and out of functioning. Other power steering problems can also lead to this issue. These can include a faulty power steering pump, a leaky rack, or broken rack mounts. Be sure to mention your problem to a mechanic who can help to make a more thorough diagnosis.