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Auto Repair Services

Steering & Suspension Repair and Replacement

If your car or truck bounces, sways, squeaks or makes it difficult just to turn your steering wheel its most likely time for a service on your suspension or drivetrain. 

Auto Repair Services

Steering & Suspension Repair and Replacement

If your car or truck bounces, sways, squeaks or makes it difficult just to turn your steering wheel its most likely time for a service on your suspension or drivetrain. 

Steering & Suspension Services

Your steering and suspension systems work together to keep your tires on the road and your vehicle under control – until a power steering issue makes your steering wheel difficult to steer, or a suspension issue makes your vehicle hard to control. 

If your car or truck bounces, sways, squeaks or makes it difficult just to turn your steering wheel its most likely time for a service on your suspension or drivetrain. We conduct a full digital vehicle inspection of your suspension, steering and drivetrain. We send you a digital report with images of the issues your vehicle may have. We take the time to explain and show your vehicle’s condition and we let you know which services are necessary and which can wait. We discuss the best options for your budget.

How does my car suspension work?

Imagine a world with no potholes and all roads are perfectly even, flat, and have no debris. Unfortunately, that’s not our reality. If it was, we would have no need for suspension in our vehicles.

Every bump and imperfection on the road ends up applying force to the wheels. This force causes the wheels to shift up and down perpendicular to the road surface. When this happens, it causes the wheel to undergo vertical acceleration as it traverses over the imperfections on the road. This movement transfers the wheels’ vertical energy to the frame of the car. Worst case scenario, this will lead to the tires losing traction with the road completely. 

Without a doubt, the suspension system plays a crucial role in helping a driver control their car. Its main job is to ensure maximum friction between the tires and the road surface which provides steering stability. 

It may seem simple to steer a car, but a vehicle’s suspension system depends on several components to keep it working in top condition. This includes shocks, struts, and drivetrain to name a few.

What are shocks and struts? What’s the difference?

Shocks and struts are both parts of your vehicle’s suspension system but have very specific purposes.

Shocks are what absorb the jolts you might feel from damaged or uneven roads. It is a hydraulic component that aids in reducing the movement caused by a vehicle’s springs. When shocks do their job properly, they soften the impact from rough roads and provide better control over the vehicle resulting in a more enjoyable, smoother ride.

Struts are a weight-bearing-component structural component in a vehicle’s steering and suspension systems. They decrease jolts felt on rougher road surfaces which in turn improves a vehicle’s alignment and steering performance.

What are Tie Rods? When should Tie Rods be replaced?

Whenever you steer your vehicle, you’re using tie rods. Going left, right or straight, your steering relies on tie rods to keep you in control of your vehicle. Tie rods have a ball-and-socket joint to accommodate for any road irregularities or movement felt while driving.  You’ll notice your vehicle’s handling is much different if these become worn or need to be repaired. Aside from poor handling, if tie rods become worn it might cause additional tire wear.  

Have one of our technicians at Will’s auto conduct a visual inspection to see if your vehicle is experiencing issues with tie rods. If they do need to be replaced, it’s crucial that the tie rod ends are adjusted for accuracy in order to get a proper wheel alignment.

What does the drivetrain do?

A car’s drivetrain connects the engine to the wheels making it possible for the vehicle to move. As the engine is running, the drivetrain delivers power through the transmission to the drive wheels. The drive wheels can be the front wheels (front-wheeled drive), rear wheels (Rear-wheel drive), or all the wheels (All Wheel Drive).

How does the drivetrain work?

The drivetrain works differently between rear-wheel drive and front-wheel drive vehicles.

For cars and trucks that is rear-wheel drive it works by:

The drivetrain’s job starts with the transmission, which controls the power that comes from the engine to the wheels. To deliver the engine power where it needs to go, the driveshaft connected to the transmission spins, transferring power to the rear differential. The rear differential then distributes power to the rear axles and from there to the rear wheels.

For a car that is front-wheel drive it works by:

In front-wheel drive vehicles all of the power transfer is consolidated in the front of the vehicle. There’s no driveshaft that carries engine power instead it is done by a transaxle. The transaxle which means the transmission and axle share the same housing. Where it connects to the wheels.

What are the parts of a typical drivetrain?

  • Transmission: Transfers power from the engine to the tires
  • Driveshaft: The driveshaft is a steel or aluminum cylinder that connects the U-Joint at the back of a transmission to a U-joint near the rear axle. The driveshaft allows the transmission to power the wheels.
  • CV Joint: A constant-velocity joint (CV joint) is designed to turn in any direction your wheel is turned, making it possible for power to be delivered to the wheels. CV Joints are mostly found on front-wheel drive vehicles 
  • U-Joint: The universal joint (U-joint) makes it able to connect the transmission and driveshaft at different angles. This allows the shaft to pivot and move when the vehicle goes over bumps or dips in the road.
  • Differential: Typically located on the rear axle in rear wheel drive vehicles and also the front axle on 4 wheel-drive vehicles as well as on all-wheel drive vehicles. It is a housing that contains the axle gears and the differential. It is typically positioned in the middle of the axle and distributes equal power to each drive wheel. 
  • Axle Shafts: On either side of the rear differential are the axle shafts. The axle shafts deliver power from the differential to the rear drive or front drive wheels.

How do I know if I need drivetrain repair?

If you are experiencing some issues with your drivetrain, here are some things to watch out for.

  • Odd noises
  • Leaking fluids
  • Vibrations
  • Problems shifting
  • Check engine light

Suspension FAQs

Not every vehicle has struts, but you might find that some vehicles have shocks on one axle and struts on the other. If you’re not certain you can look under your vehicle to find out or have our technicians take a look.

It’s recommended that your vehicle’s shocks and struts be inspected every 50,000 miles or based off of your vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance schedule.

Rough road conditions are the most common cause of vehicle alignment issues. Running over potholes, debris, or hitting the curb are a few examples. Also, if a vehicle drives off-road, they are more susceptible to misalignment and wear and tear of steering components (that do lead to misalignment).

Signs to watch for with failing shocks and struts :

  • Noticeable swaying when going around turns or changing lanes.
  • Vehicle front end dips down when coming to a stop.
  • Rear end dips down when accelerating.
  • Tires are showing abnormal flat areas of wear (cupping)
  • Frequent or excessive wheel bounce.
  • Noise when turning or poor steering response.
  • Lack of control at high speeds.

First, check your owner’s manual to identify your drivetrain type. If that is unavailable, a check look under the hood can tell you. If the engine is mounted sideways, the belts will also face sideways too. If the belts face to one side of the car or the other, it’s most likely a four-wheel drive (FWD).

When an engine is mounted front to back with belts facing you when standing in front of it, you probably have a rear-wheel drive (RWD) vehicle.

Common signs of a malfunctioning drivetrain

  • Odd noises
  • Fluid leaks
  • Vibrations
  • Difficulty shifting
  • Check engine light is on

Most vehicles have two tie rod ends. There is one inner tie rod and one outer tie rod end which leaves you with a total of four. Normally, tie rods are permanently greased, but some have a Zerk fitting for re-greasing.

The short answer is no. They are the critical mechanical link to the steering system and it would be ill advised to wait on this repair. If there is a known issue like wear, looseness or binding, the odds of tie rod breakage or loss of steering largely increases. To be on the safe side, have tie rod issues taken care of as soon as possible by one of Will’s technicians.

Auto Mechanic Eugene Oregon
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