Steering, Suspension, & Alignment
Your ability to steer is directly affected by your car's suspension system and the proper alignment of your vehicle's wheels. This section will illustrate how the steering, suspension and alignment systems of your vehicle work, and will help you know when there might be something wrong in this area.
How it Works
When it comes to absorbing the shocks of the road, you'd think the shock absorbers would take care of everything. But you'd only be half right. Actually, coil or leaf springs handle the abuse of the road. Your shock absorbers handle the abuse caused by the rebound of the springs. They both work together to keep your vehicle under control. And those two components, plus a variety of shafts, rods, arms, joints, and knuckles make up what's commonly called a conventional suspension. Many larger SUVs and pick up trucks still use this time-tested design.
However, many of today's front-wheel drive cars have a strut suspension system that combines the coils and shock absorbers of conventional suspension into one unit, eliminating the need for a lot of other components. Struts cost more, but they do more than conventional shock absorbers. Also, there's less stuff to break.
No matter what kind of suspension you have, its operation is affected by your car's alignment, which determines everything from the position of your steering wheel to how your tires actually touch the road.
What to Watch for
Here are a few symptoms to watch for if you think you are having steering, suspension, or alignment problems.
Excessive tyre wear, poor steering control or an off-centre steering wheel are all signs that your vehicle may have steering or suspension issues. It could also indicate improper tracking that results from your car's wheels being an unequal distance from the centerline.
Symptoms of bad shocks, struts, or worn springs include excessive bouncing over road bumps, loss of control during sudden stops, excessive swerving while changing lanes, front-end nose diving during quick stops, and vehicle sag in front or rear.
If you experience any of the above, bring your vehicle to Midas for an alignment inspection or free steering or suspension inspection.
It's important to have your car aligned whenever you replace any major suspension components or if you notice unusual or irregular wear patterns on your tyres. Getting your car aligned is a relatively inexpensive procedure, and it could wind up saving you a lot in terms of longer tire life, better fuel economy, and safer handling.