Steering and Suspension Check only $47.50
The steering and suspension systems are key safety-related systems that largely determine your car’s ride and handling. Have these systems checked at least once a year. A good time to get them checked is with your wheel alignment.
Shocks and Struts
Shocks and struts are an integral part of your suspension system. They work to prevent suspension parts and tires from wearing out prematurely. If worn, they could jeopardize your ability to stop, steer and maintain stability. They also work to maintain tire contact with the road and reduce the rate at which vehicle weight transfers among the wheels when negotiating corners or during braking.
The steering knuckle is the pivot point of the steering system, which allows the wheels to turn. On cars with conventional suspension systems, the steering knuckle’s spindle locates and supports the inner and outer wheel bearings. On cars with MacPherson strut suspension systems, the steering knuckle has an opening to allow connection of the CV axle shaft to the wheel hub and bearing assembly. A bent or damaged steering knuckle affects proper wheel alignment.
Ball joints are a part of your vehicle’s suspension that connects the steering knuckles to the control arms. A ball joint is essentially a flexible ball and socket that allows the suspension to move and at the same time the wheels to steer. Like any other suspension component, ball joints eventually wear and become loose. Excessive play in the joint can affect wheel alignment and tire wear. Loose joints can also cause suspension noise. If a ball joint fails, the suspension can collapse causing a loss of control.
The steering rack is composed of a rack enclosed with a steering pinion. It is connected to the steering wheel through the set of shafts and U-joints. As the steering wheel is turned, the pinion moves and pushes the steering rack either to the left or right. The ends of the steering rack are connected to the front wheels so the steering rack inputs and turns them to the left or the right as well. If the power steering rack wears out badly, it will start to leak. The absence of the hydraulic fluid will result to a hard, difficult steering.
Wheel Bearing and Hub
A wheel bearing is a set of ball bearings that support the wheel and ride on a metal shaft called an axle shaft. The wheel bearing fits tightly inside the hub, the hollow chunk of metal at the center of your wheel, which holds the lug bolts that you use to bolt your tire onto the wheel. The wheel bearing is pressed into the hub, from the back side of the hub.
On rack and pinion steering, the inner tie rods extend from the steering rack and directly attach to the outer tie rods ends. The outer tie rod ends are connected to the steering knuckle. This assembly maintains the maneuverability of the steering. The tie rods are the main adjustment when performing a wheel alignment. The alignment specifications are within minimal degrees, and a slight play from a worn tie rod can affect the tire wear, steering performance and safety of the vehicle.