You might drive a big pickup truck or SUV, but the fact is that your steering and suspension components are more fragile than you might think.Wheel Alignment in Springfield MO

An impact on a curb or pothole is transmitted through all the linkages in your steering and suspension. Since the wheels and tires are what take that impact hardest, they’re the most vulnerable to damage in these scenarios. It can be enough to cause a tire to fail or can damage the tire’s steel belts and internal structure. It can also result in a rim that’s bent to a point where the wheel is out of true and may have to be discarded and replaced.

Every vehicle has a steering knuckle; although the design may vary from one make and model to the next, the knuckle always consists of the wheel hub and spindle. Since the wheels are bolted directly to the knuckle assembly, that’s going to be the second most vulnerable part that can be damaged from an impact.

Past the steering knuckle, there are suspension and steering parts like the Pitman arm, drag link, control arms and other components. At the very least, a hard hit on a curb can be enough to jolt everything out of spec to a point where an alignment is necessary. In the worst case, parts can actually be bent and deformed, necessitating repair and replacement.

Even if your vehicle seems to be driving normally after an incident like this, you should still bring it in for a wheel alignment. Or, you may notice symptoms such as:

  • Steering that feels “clumsy” or “heavy”
  • Steering wheel has to be held off-center to drive in a straight line
  • Persistent pull to one side while driving on straight pavement
  • Shimmy or vibration
  • Steering wheel doesn’t center itself readily after rounding a corner (“poor returnability”)

When you’re driving on snow and ice, sometimes incidents like this are unavoidable. Don’t take chances with your vehicle’s control and steering – if you had a run-in with a curb, make an appointment with us at JBC Tire Complete Auto Care in Springfield, MO for a checkup and inspection.