Steering and Suspension Systems Service and Repair

Here at Thompson Automotive, we provide replacement and repair services for suspension and steering systems. We recognize that these fine-tuned systems require proper maintenance to ensure that your vehicle is safe and comfortable on the road. After all, a well maintained steering and suspension system is critical to the safety of your ride. Without proper maintenance and repair of important steering and suspension components, control of your vehicle can be compromised. An example of this is when a wheel alignment issue goes unchecked — over time, this issue can cause the vehicle to veer to one side or another, even when the steering wheel isn’t being turned.

In addition to the obvious mechanisms of steering and suspension like the steering wheel, steering column, and the wheels themselves, there are additional components that will inevitably wear down and require service or replacement given enough time. When you notice that your vehicle is having an issue, such as poor steering or suspension, you can bring it in to our Littleton auto shop for an inspection and repairs. We’ll pinpoint the source of the issue, and let you know what we find, and then we’ll get to work repairing your vehicle so that it is perfectly road-ready.

If you need us to take a look at your set of wheels, you can schedule an appointment today. You can also continue reading to learn more about your suspension and steering systems, and common problems that you may notice as your cruising over the pavement.

Shocks, Struts, and Springs

Some vehicles on the road today make use of independent shock absorbers for suspension throughout the system. Others may use struts (an assembly including a coil spring) to accomplish the same goal of keeping road vibration down and allowing for a comfortable ride. With enough abuse from speed bumps, railroad crossings, and daily wear-and-tear, these precision suspension parts can wear down and require replacement.

The best way to tell if your shocks or struts require service is if your vehicle bottoms out during clearance of road variations like dips, bumps, or steep hills. Also, if the vehicle continues to bounce after clearance of a bump in the road, that’s another sign that service may be needed. Ignoring a suspension issue like bad shocks, struts, or springs could result in damage to the undercarriage of your vehicle. This could include damage to the exhaust system, transmission casing, and other vital components. It’s best to bring your vehicle into the shop right away if you notice that it bottoms out, it continually bounces after a bump in the road, or if you can press down on the bumpers of your car with relative ease — poor suspension can create unsafe driving conditions, and again, it can cause further damage to your vehicle.

Steering System Calibration and Service

For your car, truck, van, or SUV to operate smoothly, the steering system needs to be in good working order. Part of the ongoing maintenance for most steering systems is an alignment of all four wheels, to ensure that they are calibrated to remain in sync with each other during driving. Foregoing this can result in uneven tire wear and unsafe driving conditions.

The steering system also requires specific fluid to function optimally. This fluid can begin to leak from cracks or faults in the steering system. If this happens, it’s just a matter of time before the steering system is totally compromised, presenting a serious problem for the driver. To determine the right steering fluid and replacement components for your vehicle, rely on the professionals at Thompson Automotive. We will do the research to locate the exact parts you need, and we’ll never recommend repairs that aren’t necessary.

Common Suspension and Steering Issues

Vehicle bottoms out: Unless you’re doing some serious off-roading, your vehicle should rarely bottom out. Your suspension is responsible for keeping the undercarriage of your car raised well above the asphalt, so that it’s components are never in danger of colliding with the surface of the road, even as you roll over bumps and potholes. If you notice that your vehicle is bottoming out in relatively normal driving conditions, then your suspension isn’t doing its job. You may need to have your shocks, struts, or springs replaced to give your suspension the ability to absorb those minor road obstacles.

Bouncing after bumps: This is another telltale sign that your suspension isn’t doing its job. If your vehicle continues to bounce up and down after you’ve gone over a bump, then it’s likely that part or all of your suspension components are worn down. For example, if your car bounces around the road after hitting a pothole, you may have bad struts in the front, rear, or on all sides of your vehicle. Your suspension is designed to keep your vehicle steady on the road — maintaining an even alignment even after you’ve hit a small obstacle. If you’ve noticed that your vehicle fails to realign quickly, then it’s time to have a mechanic take a look at your suspension.

Slow recovery from braking or accelerating: Even as you brake and accelerate, your vehicle should remain fairly well aligned, resting parallel over the road surface. However, if you have a failing suspension system, then you may notice that your vehicle dips and sags as you brake or speed up. These issues are signs that your suspension is worn out, which means that the momentum of your vehicle will cause it to dip towards the road. Again, this can prove dangerous and it can cause more wear and tear on your car, so it’s best to bring it in to the shop.

Speed wobbles and poor vehicle control: Speed wobbles can be caused by a variety of issues, including tire, alignment, and steering issues. If you have tires that are unevenly worn down, then they may want to steer the vehicle in a certain direction, or the individual treads of your tires may work against each other, causing your vehicle to wobble at higher speeds. You may also have poorly aligned wheels, which means that your tires will fight against each other, which will cause speed wobbles and faster tire wear. If your steering system isn’t well calibrated, you may also experience poor control and speed wobbles.

Pulling to the side: You shouldn’t have to fight your car to maintain control of its direction. If your vehicle is pulling to the side as you drive, then you may have an issue with the tires, alignment, brakes, or steering components of your vehicle. If you have uneven tire treads, then your vehicle may automatically pull in one direction or the other. Similarly, if your wheels are poorly aligned, then your vehicle will likely favor pulling towards a certain direction. If you have a locked up wheel caliper, then it will also cause your vehicle to pull to one side. And finally, if you have a steering issue (for instance, your tie rods or steering rack may be damaged) then your vehicle may not drive straight. We can assess your vehicle to locate the source of the issue if you’ve noticed that your car wants to pull to the side.

Uneven tire wear: Take a look at your tires. If you have tires with uneven wear then your wheels are likely poorly aligned, or you may have an issue with the suspension of your vehicle. Poor alignment can cause tires to pull and push against each other as they fight for traction on the road. This will cause your tire treads to be worn on one side, instead of even wear across the entire surface of the tire. You may also notice that your tire treads are worn in patches. This is an indication that your vehicle’s suspension is poor. If you have a worn-out suspension system, then you may cause uneven wear on your tires as you brake.

Schedule an Appointment Today

Don’t put off necessary service or repair for your suspension or steering systems. For your convenience, we service all of Littleton and the surrounding area. Many of our customers continue to bring their vehicles to us even after moving from the area — our expertise and professionalism turn first time visitors into lifelong customers. Come experience the Thompson Automotive difference, schedule an appointment today!

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