Modern cars and trucks are very comfortable to drive and ride around in. The comfort and easy handling you experience are possible because of a series interconnected parts that suspend your car and make steering safe and simple. Let's take a look at how this all works and what you can do to keep it running properly.
Without getting too technical, the steering system in your car allows you to control where you go and the suspension system does what its name says it suspends or supports your car. There are two types steering systems widely used in today's cars. One is Rack and Pinion Steering the other is referred to as Conventional Steering. When you steer the Rack and Pinion system transmits the circular motion of your steering wheel to a gear that meshes with teeth on a flat rack that goes back and forth as you turn the wheel. Conventional Steering transmits the circular motion from the steering wheel to a gear that moves an arm back and through a set of linkages to steer the wheels.
The suspension system supports the vehicle. The springs and shock absorbers allow the wheels to move over irregularities in the road while cushioning the driver and passengers as well as the engine, transmission and other key parts of the car. The suspension system is made of springs, shock absorbers, ball joints, steering knuckles and the axles attached to your wheels. Just ask us for a view of the Virtual Vehicle if you need more information. The suspension system will be different depending on whether you have front or rear wheel drive.
Just about all modern steering systems are power assisted. Most power steering works with a pump driven by a belt attached to the engine. The pump pressurizes and circulates special fluid that makes one hand steering possible. Some cars have electrically powered steering systems.
Failed, worn or out of adjustment steering and suspension parts not only make driving less comfortable but can also compromise the safety of you and your passengers. Tire wear and gas mileage are also affected when steering and chassis parts experience excessive wear. The best way to avoid safety issues, poor drivability and reduced mileage is to have your steering and suspension systems serviced regularly.
Many parts require periodic lubrication, while others are permanently sealed. Virtually all require periodic inspection and adjustment to keep your car rolling safely and comfortably down the road. As your car gets older some parts will need to be replaced to maintain that new car feeling. At Roy's we have the training, certification, tools and experience to maintain, adjust and repair any steering or suspension system. Steering and chassis parts are designed to withstand a lot of stress and abuse from varied driving conditions but normal wear and tea will eventually take place.
Looseness is the most common symptom when steering and suspension parts start showing wear. Looseness causes the parts to hammer against each other which causes more wear and looseness. In extreme cases parts can actually break or separate causing loss of control of your vehicle. Regular maintenance that includes proper lubrication will minimize wear and also detect worn parts before they become dangerous and cause premature tire wear.
Most suspension or steering problems will cause excessive tire wear, rough riding or steering problems. If your tires look like the pictures below it is time to have your steering or suspension system serviced. Other symptoms to watch for are listed at the left.
Cupped Tire Wear - can be caused by out of balance tires, worn out wheel bearings or bad shock absorbers.
Scrubbed Tire Wear - If your tires look like this you may have loose, worn, or bent tie-rod ends, idler arms or worn steering linkage parts.
Uneven Tire Wear - is often caused by incorrect alignment, or worn ball joints or bushings.
Variable Tire Wear - may be caused by any one or a combination of misalignment, worn control arm bushings, loose ball joints, weak or worn shock absorbers, or low tire pressure.
Worn tires or poor drivability can be caused by any one or a combination of the above problems. Whether it's a wheel alignment, tire balance or a more serious repair you can trust that it will be done properly at Roy's Pro Auto. We use parts that meet or exceed manufacturer specifications and all our work comes with a Nationwide Warranty.
* Photos provided courtesy of Tech-Net® .