Diagram of a car steering system

Steering and Suspension Systems

Your vehicle’s steering and suspension system serves many important functions.

  • It allows you to direct your car or truck where you want it to go.
  • It cushions you from bumps and uneven street surfaces.
  • It prevents important underside components from making contact with the road.

To accomplish these things, your steering and suspension system makes use of a number of different parts. Most cars nowadays feature a rack and pinion steering system. When the wheel is turned it rotates a pinion gear that makes contact with the steering rack, making it go left or right. This motion is transferred through tie rods to the spindles, which then turns the wheels in the direction you want to go (trucks and SUVs often have a somewhat more complicated setup known as recirculating-ball steering).

In a power-assisted rack and pinion system, a cylinder attached to the rack contains hydraulic fluid that puts pressure on one side of it or the other. This makes the vehicle easier to steer. Meanwhile, the vehicle’s frame, struts, and tires support it and make for an even, comfortable driving experience.

Over time these systems can start to break down causing a variety of problems that can compromise your safety and ride quality.

Get your steering and suspension systems checked if you experience these issues:

  • Vehicle pulls to one side while driving
  • Continued bouncing after hitting a bump or a pothole
  • Diagram of typical front wheel drive front endSteering wheel takes a great deal of effort to turn
  • Steering seems to slip as you hold the wheel in a turned position
  • Steering wheel bounces up and down while traveling at highway speeds or when braking
  • Steering wheel “wanders” and doesn’t stay where you steer
  • Knocking or clunking when hitting bumps or cracks in the road
  • A loud screeching, screaming, or whistling sound when turning the steering wheel

 This can be caused by having tires with different levels of tread wear or having them incorrectly inflated. It may also indicate that you need an alignment, or that your steering and suspension components have become worn and need replacing.

If you notice any of these symptoms, get your vehicle to AutoTec as soon as possible. Our expert suspension specialists will determine what’s wrong and repair the problem, getting you safely back on the road as soon as possible.