So You Hit A Curb, Huh?

February 7th, 2017

You hit a curb or a pothole, harder than you expected, and now you notice your car’s just not driving the same. It’s got a distinct pull to one side, and the steering feels Wheel Alignments in Thousand Oaks CA “heavy” and clumsy. A car that once handled really well suddenly handles like a loaded dump truck.

Chances are your wheel alignment was jarred out of spec by the impact, sorry to say.

Every vehicle leaves the factory with the front wheels set at specific angles that are designed by engineers for the best possible handling, steering response, ride quality and road manners. These angles are determined relative to an imaginary straight line down the center of the vehicle’s frame.

Those angles are:

  • Toe-in, the inward skew of the wheels
  • Toe-out, the outward skew of the wheels
  • Camber, the inward or outward tilt of the top of the wheel
  • Caster, the fore-and-aft orientation of the wheel

A hard hit on an obstacle like a curb, even if it doesn’t damage parts like the Pitman arm, drag link, ball joints or tie rods, can still be enough to knock those components out of factory spec. These are all signs of front end problems:

·        Consistent, strong pull to left or right while driving on straight,  uncrowned highway

·        Steering that feels “heavy”

·        Poor returnability – wheel doesn’t readily center itself after rounding a corner

·        Steering wheel has to be held off-center to keep the vehicle in a straight line

·        Front tires are wearing unevenly at inside or outside edge

That uneven tire wear is happening because one tire is consistently trying to steer the vehicle in another direction, and is being “dragged” down the highway by the others, scrubbing off tread as it goes. That’s also costing you money in terms of fuel economy and increased rolling resistance.

Don’t just put up with a vehicle that drives poorly – it’s more than just an annoyance. Make an appointment with us at Discount Tire Thousand Oaks and let us put it up on an alignment rack. Our technicians can get your vehicle driving like new again in just a couple of hours’ time! 

  Posted in: Auto Repair 101