Front End Suspension And Steering
The parts that make up your car's steering and suspension have seen the worst of the road -- water, mud, snow, and salt. Then throw in age and lack of maintenance, and those old components need to be replaced before they become a safety issue.
Worn Front-End Parts
With time and neglect, front-end and suspension parts wear. Certain under-car components will wear out more quickly than others. For example, outer tie rods wear faster than inner tie rods. On rear wheel drive vehicles, lower ball joints wear out faster than upper ball joints. Some components will give you a sign before failing by leaking or squeaking.
Front End Suspension Repair
Most under-car components are usually unwilling to be removed easily. This is where it pays to work smart. Before you try removing those old parts, grab a can of WD-40 or a similar penetrating fluid and generously spray the parts to be removed. Let them soak for a long time (five minutes is NOT a long time). The longer it soaks, the better it works.
Sometimes a gentle rap with a hammer may help loosen stuck parts. When trying to take off old tie-rods, take a wire brush and clean off exposed threads first.
Front end steering parts that wear over time include inner and outer tie rods, idler arm, pitman arm, and center link. Uneven tire wear usually indicates a front-end alignment issue, which may be caused by worn suspension parts, such as lower control-arms and ball-joints.
Please be aware that crawling underneath an unsupported car is dangerous. Make sure your vehicle is secure on jack stands before you work on it.
Read: Best Jack Stands And Lifting Procedures
Front End Alignment
During my tenure as a tire shop manager, I must have heard every myth, half-truth and preposterous story about wheel alignment, by both customers and technicians! Unless you have a working experience with front ends, it's hard to understand the geometric principles of alignment and more importantly, their interplay with each other.
Signs Of Improper Alignment
Symptoms of improper alignment include uneven tire wear, wander, pulling left or right, scuffing, and dragging.
Classic Cars and Tires
In the interest of better handling and fuel economy, radial tires emerged in the late sixties, becoming standard on Corvettes in 1973, and most other American cars by 1974.