Is Your Poor Wheel Alignment Ruining Your Car's Suspension?


While most suspension components aren't technically considered wear items, these critical parts of your car tend to suffer substantial abuse from daily use. Driving over bumps, uneven surfaces, and potholes can all cause them to wear down. Although there's no set time when you should replace these items, you will inevitably need to do so if you own your car for long enough.

Of course, some things can cause your suspension components to wear down and fail much more quickly. Poor wheel alignment is one such problem, and it's among the cheapest and easiest to address. However, failing to deal with drifting alignment on your car can potentially hasten the demise of these three essential suspension components.

1. Ball Joints

Without ball joints, your vehicle's suspension would not be able to move independently of the wheels. These joints allow the suspension to flex as you drive down the road, creating a smooth, even ride in the cabin and ensuring predictable handling. Faulty ball joints can create noises, vibrations, and other frustrating and annoying drivability issues.

Improper wheel alignment can cause constant stress on your car's ball joints, exposing them to irregular forces that will cause them to wear out more quickly. The worse your vehicle's alignment, the more stress the ball joints will experience, causing them to wear more quickly and potentially lead to premature failures.

2. Control Arms

Control arms are rigid suspension components that link your wheels to your vehicle's body (or chassis). Control arms use flexible bushings to provide a more compliant ride, allowing the suspension to travel up and down without subjecting cabin occupants to undue force. These bushings tend to wear out over time, although the rigid control arms are typically more durable.

Problems with your car's alignment may cause your suspension components to experience added stress when hitting bumps or potholes or may cause the control arms to experience forces from unusual directions. These additional stresses can cause the bushings to wear down more quickly or, in extreme cases, even make it more likely for the control arms to break when hitting potholes.

3. Shocks & Struts

Unlike other parts of your suspension, shocks and struts are generally considered wear items. Although there's rarely a set replacement interval for these parts, you'll often need to replace them before 100,000 miles. As with other wear items, such as brake pads, your driving conditions and style will affect how quickly they wear out.

Driving a vehicle with poor alignment is like exposing your car's shocks and struts to consistently terrible roads. Since incorrect alignment affects how your wheels travel relative to the direction of your vehicle, it will force your shocks to absorb much more abuse than normal. As a result, ignoring alignment problems will likely lead to replacing your shocks and struts much sooner than usual. 

For more info about wheel alignment, contact a local company. 


22 December 2022

Keep Your Vehicle Safe

Hello. My name’s Samuel Jacobs. I retired from my job as an auto mechanic last year. During my years as a mechanic, I had the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life. Some have remained friends to this day. When I was working, there is one thing that I came across at least weekly. That is how uneducated people are when it comes to their vehicle’s tires. Properly cared for tires are crucial to the safety of your vehicle. Without them, your car isn’t going anywhere. If they give out on you while you are driving, there is the potential for serious injury. I’m going to share some tire safety information here. Things like the importance of correct inflation, how to check the tread, when to replace tires, tire rotation, and what to do in case of a blow-out. I hope you find this information to be helpful.