Steering and Suspension Repair
Stay Safe and Maintain Performance
Your steering and suspension system connects your car to your wheels. If it’s not working properly, you can’t safely control your vehicle. If you’re having steering problems or are hearing clunks and rattles coming from your vehicle, bring it in to Alexander’s. We have the tools and know-how to get the job done right, and can align your vehicle after we repair it.Schedule Appointment
Minneapolis Steering and Suspension Repair
The steering and suspension system is what connects the car to the wheels. The sway bars, tie rod ends, steering knuckles, control arms(including ball joints) and struts make up the components at each front wheel. We cover shocks and struts on another page, but what about the other parts? Do you know what a control arm or sway bar looks like? We’re going to break it all down, so read on.
Control arm: The control arms on every model are a little different, but they all perform the same function. They hold the steering knuckle to the frame (or subframe). Most control arms have one or more bushings and at least one ball joint. The bushing connects to the subframe and allows the control arm to pivot up and down when driving over bumps. The ball joint connects to the steering knuckle and allows the knuckle to turn when turning the steering wheel. Think of the ball joint like a joint in your body; the ball joint allows the wheels to turn while still holding them in place, just like your joints do when you walk.
Steering knuckle: The steering knuckle is also a little different for each model. The steering knuckle holds the wheel bearing, which holds the axle and hub. The hub is what the wheel bolts to. So the wheel is attached to the hub and the hub is attached to the steering knuckle and the steering knuckle is attached to the subframe via the control arms. The steering knuckle doesn’t usually need replacement because it’s solid metal and has no wear components.
Sway bar: The sway bar is more properly known as the “anti-sway bar,” or “stabilizer bar.” It’s a long bar that travels left to right between the wheels. The sway bar connects to the suspension via the sway bar links. Most vehicles have a front and a rear sway bar. The sway bar is put in place to help the vehicle body roll through corners. Because the rest of the suspension is essentially independent left-to-right, the sway bar acts to connect them and reduce roll.
Tie rod ends and more: The tie rod ends are what connect the steering rack to the wheels. The steering rack is activated when you turn the steering wheel. As the steering rack moves left and right, the tie rod ends push and pull the wheels so the car turns how you want it to. The tie rod ends are also how the toe is adjusted when completing an alignment.
Besides the steering knuckle, these parts are all prone to wear, especially with bumpy Minnesota roads.
When to Repair Your Steering and Suspension System
If any component in the steering or suspension system is worn there are a few things that may happen. The first is a clunk, rattle, or other noise when going over bumps. The noise you hear is the components moving away from where they should be, then being slammed back into place. If the ball joint, control arm bushing, or tie rod end is worn, you’ll often notice the steering or suspension doesn’t feel as tight. You may be able to move the steering wheel without actually turning the wheels, or it may feel as though one wheel has a mind of its own, even when you’re not turning the steering wheel.
Any problem with the steering or suspension can be a safety concern. If any of these parts were to completely fail, the car may not drive or steer at all, putting you and others at risk of a car accident.
How We Repair Your Steering and Suspension System
Being that every car is a little different, it takes an experienced technician to find many of the problems related to steering and suspension. As with most problems, our first step is a test drive. A noise is always a giveaway that there’s a problem with the steering or suspension system.
The vehicle is then inspected using a variety of tools to test the control arm bushings, ball joints, tie rod ends, and sway bar links. Once the problem is identified, the parts are sourced and installed. After any suspension work, a wheel alignment is recommended. After most steering work, an alignment is necessary to make sure the new parts are adjusted properly for the car to drive straight down the road.
Repair Your Vehicle’s Suspension Today
Here at Alexander’s, we take pride in being able to diagnose and repair virtually all steering and suspension components on import vehicles. We have the tools and know-how to do the job right. We’ll also align your wheels, making Alexander’s your one-stop shop for all steering and suspension needs.