Does your car have difficulty steering or problems achieving a smooth ride?
If so, then you may need to repair your steering or suspension systems. At All County Auto Repair & Maintenance, we inspect for both upper and lower ball joint wear and then service these components accordingly. Worn suspension ball joints can cause the steering wheel to shake, so it is essential to inspect and repair them regularly. Don’t leave your steering up to chance--call our certified mechanics in Stuart at 772-266-8685 or in Tequesta at 561-747-8320 to request a quote and schedule an affordable appointment today!
During each inspection, our certified technicians will check the idler arm, the pitman arm, and the tie rod ends, as these elements need to be inspected at normal service intervals. To assess these components, we turn the steering wheel slightly back and forth to check for excess movement. If the wheel moves too much, our experts will determine the best course of repair or replacement. In addition, we will check your power steering fluid during each inspection and add more as needed, ensuring that your car always turns the way it was meant to.
Understanding ball joints
Ball joints are a component of the suspension system and are responsible for connecting the steering knuckles to the control arms. In essence, a ball joint is a flexible ball and socket that steers the wheels by allowing the suspension to move. As with any vehicle component that sees regular use, ball joints eventually wear down and loosen, which in turn can impact wheel alignment and wear down tires more quickly. Loose joints can also cause noise within the suspension, usually a loud “clunk” when hitting a bump or pothole. If a ball joint fails completely, the suspension can collapse and cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle. Don’t put yourself or your family at risk--schedule an appointment to have an All County Auto Repair & Tire expert review your suspension today!
Common ball joint problems
- Clunking noise coming from front tires
- Steering wheel pulls to one side, especially when going over bumps
- Steering wheel shakes or feels otherwise unnatural
- Tires wear down abnormally fast
Understanding tie rod ends
In today’s automobiles, the steering wheel connects to the steering gear, a special gear that helps the steering wheel to turn the tires. This gear connects to the wheels via the tie rod ends, which ensure that the wheels stay aligned by adjusting them so that the tires do not wear out on either edge. If the inner or outer tire edges do wear out, the wheels can lose alignment and cause the steering wheel to shake.
Common tie rod end problems
- Tires wear down abnormally fast
- Car pulls to one side
- Steering wheel shakes
- Vehicle cannot be properly aligned
Understanding suspension and steering systems
The main purpose of the suspension and steering systems is to let the wheels to move independently while still keeping them aligned and stable. Uncontrolled motion in these systems can misalign the tires and lead to excessive tread wear. Loose or worn-out components can impact the ability to control the toe angle, which in turn can cause a loss of directional stability and an increase in tire wear.
Steering systems come in two distinct types: conventional systems and rack and pinion systems. Their main components are outlined below.
- Steering gear box
- Center link
- Pitman arm
- Idler arm
- Tie rods
Rack and pinion system
- Rack and pinion assembly
- Bellows boots
- Tie rods
Suspension systems have their own unique pieces, including
- Control arms
- Ball joints
- Coil springs and leaf springs
- Shock absorbers
Whether your car runs on hydraulic power or electric power, the experts at All County Auto Repair & Tire can fix or replace any part and get your steering movement back on track in no time, all for an affordable price that fits any budget!
Understanding shock absorbers
Your vehicle will need new shocks or struts if the originals are worn out, leaking, or otherwise damaged. Leakage is identified by the oil or wetness visible on the outside of the shock or strut, and common damage such as a broken mount or dented housing is typically noticeable as well. General wear, however, is more subjective; sometimes the original shocks may not be damaged but are nonetheless inadequate for the job they must perform. For example, it may be necessary to upgrade the suspension with different shocks or struts to allow for trailer towing or hauling other large loads.
Unlike oil and filters, shocks and struts are not typically replaced at regular intervals. Some will last only 30,000 miles before wearing out, while other scan survive 50,000 or even 60,000 miles. The damping characteristics of shocks and struts deteriorate very slowly, meaning that the decline in ride control is hard to detect on a day-to-day basis. By the time the problem becomes obvious, replacement is often long overdue.
If you’re wondering whether or not it’s time to replace your shocks or struts, consider how your vehicle currently handles. Does it bounce excessively when going over bumps or driving on uneven terrain such as gravel? Does the nose dip while the vehicle is braking? Does the body sway excessively when turning around sharp corners or driving in wind? Does the suspension bottom out when carrying extra weight? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then it’s time to schedule an auto shop appointment.
Replacing shocks and struts
Over time, worn shocks can increase the distance it takes to stop on a rough, wet, or slick surface. Worn-out shocks and struts also increase the wear on the suspension, which in turn can cause excess wear on the tires.
However, the most common reason to replace shocks or struts is to improve the overall quality of your ride. If your car rocks or bounces far more than it should, then a new set of shocks or struts will firm up your suspension and stabilize your ride.
Additionally, upgrading different types of equipment may help depending on how you use your vehicle. Premium shocks or struts that are charged with high pressure nitrogen gas will help minimize foaming in the hydraulic fluid inside the shock. This in turn helps the vehicle maintain better ride control when cornering. There are also "heavy-duty" shocks and struts with larger diameter pistons that increase resistance for greater control. These are often too harsh for everyday driving, so many have special adjustable valving that can vary the amount of resistance. Finally, overload or air-assist shocks are perfect for hauling trailers or excessive weight. Overload shocks are surrounded by a coil spring to increase the carrying capacity of the suspension, while air-assist shocks have adjustable air bladders that act as a spring when carrying extra weight.
Shocks and struts are often replaced in pairs, but this does not have to be the case if only one shock or strut is damaged. Whether it’s one or two, replacing struts typically requires suspension disassembly and wheel realignment, meaning that it is a job best left to the professionals.
No matter your issue, All County Auto Repair & Tire has the solution for you! Whether it’s a replacement steering pump or a new set of shocks, our certified professional mechanics have the parts you need to keep your car running at 100%. Don’t trust your vehicle to anyone less than the best--call to schedule a diagnostic today!