Front-End Suspension and Steering Systems for Cars and Light Trucks
Upper & Lower Ball Joints
If the suspension ball joints are worn, it will cause the spindle to wander causing the steering wheel to shake. Ball joints are a normal service item and need to be inspected regularly. Inspect lower ball joints and tie rod ends for excessive wear.
Ask your Automotive Excellence ASE Certified Technician about the severity of worn Tie Rods, Ball Joints, and other front-end suspension and steering systems.
Our ASE Certified Technicians can check the Idler Arm and Tie Rod Ends. The idler arm, pitman arm and tie rod ends are normal service items and need to be inspected at normal service intervals. To inspect the idler arm, pitman arm and tie rod ends, these can manually be checked by turning the steering wheel slightly (jog) back and forth. If excess movement is observed from any of the steering components, replacement is required.
What are Ball Joints all about?
Ball joints are a part of your vehicle’s suspension system that connect 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. Cars and trucks will have multiple ball joint assemblies depending on their type of suspension system. Like any other suspension component, ball joints will eventually wear out and become loose. Excessive play in the joint can affect wheel alignment and tire wear. Loose joints can also cause suspension noise (typically a “clunking” sound when going over a bump). If a ball joint fails, the suspension can collapse, causing a loss of control of the vehicle.
What common symptoms indicate you may need to replace the Ball Joints?
What is a Tie Rod End all about?
A car’s steering wheel is connected to the steering gear that helps the steering wheel turn the wheels. The steering gear is connected to the wheels via the tie rod ends. The job of the tie rod end is to ensure the wheels are aligned. It provides the adjustment for wheel alignment that keeps the tires from wearing out on the inner and outer edges. If they wear out, the wheels will lose alignment and you may find that the tires and steering wheels are shaking when you drive the car.
What common symptoms indicate you may need to replace the Tie Rod End?
The primary function of your cars suspension and steering systems is to allow the wheels to move independently of the car, while keeping it “suspended” and stable. Any play or uncontrolled motion in these systems results in a deterioration of handling and accelerated tire wear. Vehicle alignment is closely tied to the condition of the suspension and steering systems, car suspension and steering.
Worn or loose components affect the ability to control the toe angle, and may result in a loss of directional stability and accelerated tire wear.
The main components of a Conventional system are:
- Steering Gear Box
- Center Link
- Pitman Arm
- Idler Arm
- Tie Rods
The main components of a Rack and Pinion steering system are:
- Rack and Pinion Assembly
- Bellows Boots
- Tie Rods
Worn or loose components affect the suspension system’s ability to control motion and alignment angles, resulting in a deterioration of vehicle handling and stability, and accelerated tire wear. The main components of the suspension system are:
- Control Arms
- Ball Joints
- Springs (Coil or Leaf)
- Shock Absorbers