Steering & Suspension Repair in Tulsa, OK
Does your car bounce, sway, or squeak as you turn? Does the back of your vehicle feel as if it’s dragging when you accelerate or does the front take a nosedive when you brake? Has the steering wheel suddenly become harder to turn?
It is possible your vehicle needs some work done on either the steering or suspension system, or both. These two systems work together to keep your vehicle under control and securely on the road. Any problems with the steering or suspension make it more susceptible to rollovers, a situation you surely don’t want to face.
Here are some things it is important to know about the steering and suspension in your car or truck, along with car suspension repair, suspension service and steering repairs.
The suspension system in a vehicle includes springs, dampening devices (shocks), ball joints, steering knuckles, and spindles or axles. All of these components of the suspension are evaluated as part of any regular suspension service. We recommend that you pinpoint small problems early, especially since the national average of suspension repairs is between $1,000 and $5,000. You can save money by being vigilant.
If you suspect problems with the suspension system or its parts, let your Tate Boys mechanic thoroughly inspect both systems. Through a diagnostic test, we can locate the causes of any symptoms you are experiencing. We can also tell you which problems are critical and which can wait until your next service appointment if you choose.
So, what are some other signs that the suspension needs attention?
- You notice your car pulling to one side or the other as you apply the brakes or turn.
- The car sways forward or backward as you brake.
- The overall ride is rough.
- Your vehicle sits lower on one side or the other.
- The car bounces more than once or twice when you put weight on the front of the vehicle and then release it.
- Your tires wear unevenly.
- There is oil or grease on the shocks or struts.
- The car squeaks when turning or braking.
Your tires and wheel alignment may be the problem
If you suspect a suspension problem, first check your tire pressure, wheel alignment, and the wear patterns on your tires. Tire problems are easily fixed and will be less expensive than suspension repairs later.
Wheel alignment adjusts the suspension so that all the wheels are oriented correctly, both to the road and to each other. This ensures that all tires are maintaining adequate contact with the road and each tire is in exact alignment with the others. If your wheels are not aligned, you will begin to see uneven wear on the tires, and you may notice some of the other red flags for suspension problems. Your mechanic at Tate Boys uses an alignment machine that takes precise measurements to be able to make the needed adjustments.
Tire pressure is also related to suspension issues. If your tires have the correct pressure, your car (and the driver and passengers!) will have a smoother ride. The shock absorption, traction, steering, and braking will all be affected if the tires do not have the right amount of tire pressure.
Driving with a damaged suspension system
You are at risk of your car rolling over when your suspension system is bad. Or your car may not stop in time when braking. Both of these events can lead to crashes. So, when is it safe to operate your vehicle with suspension problems?
Here are some instances when it’s safe to drive your car long enough to make an appointment with the steering and suspension experts at Tate Boys:
- Damaged control arms
- Damaged anti-roll bar
- Damaged shock
- Failing power steering, including rack and pinion
Call a tow truck immediately if you believe these parts may be damaged or have failed:
- Drive shaft
- Steering linkage
If you’re not sure, don’t drive your vehicle! Safety should always come first.
Driving a car with a broken or damaged suspension system is like someone trying to walk with a broken leg. The result overall is a loss of control over the car and that’s never a good feeling. The part or parts that are damaged need to be replaced.
The master mechanics at Tate Boys can diagnose and repair your car’s suspension and advise you on how to protect the system as you drive. Get your vehicle over to your nearest Tate Boys location, even if you have to call a tow truck.
Power Steering Service
The hydraulic power steering system in a vehicle must be serviced regularly in order for you to experience a smooth ride in your cars and trucks. Fluids that make the system work, such as power steering fluid, collect dirt that can damage the lines, pump and rack, and pinion seals. The fluid has to be drained, the entire system cleaned, and clean fluid put in. This process protects the power steering from wear and damage over time.
When to service the system
Over time, the power steering fluid becomes acidic and wears the seals down and damages the pump or the rack and pinion. How soon this happens is not easily predictable, though. The general recommendation for servicing the power steering is a large mileage span of 30,000 to 60,000 miles. Your Tate Boys service staff can guide you on how often this servicing is needed for your particular vehicle, based on a visual inspection of the reservoir. If there is grit or dirt in the oil or the fluid level is down, it’s time to act.
The power steering system is a closed system, so fluid won’t be lost unless there is a leak. Over time, though, fluid does break down and becomes acidic even if it’s not leaking. Acidic fluid wears the seals and damages the pump and/or the rack and pinion. If you hear pump noise, have one of our technicians inspect the system. It may be time to check for damage or low fluid. This extends the life of the power steering system as well as all the parts that work together in the system. It allows for better steering, handling, and control of the vehicle, and control of the car. And all of that is important to your safety and that of your family.
Red flags for power steering issues
You can also look for these signs of a power steering problem:
- Noise when turning the steering wheel: A loose drive belt squeals, and a bad power steering pump clatters.
- Change in steering response: A stiff or slow-to-respond steering wheel often points to a bad power steering pump.
- Vibrating steering wheel: A belt or pulley is loose.
- Low or dirty power steering fluid: Oxidation, metal flakes, or bubbles can mean air in the power steering fluid lines or a bad power steering pump.
Power steering problems are also caused by:
- Worn power steering pump.
- Loose or broken drive belt: A broken serpentine-style drive belt will disable your vehicle.
- A drive belt issue affecting your power steering pulley can compromise your power steering, too.
Two essential systems
Stability on the road is one of the most important functions of the suspension system and the power steering system in your vehicles. Be informed as much as possible about how the systems work. Then partner with a master mechanic in a trusted auto shop to keep the suspension and steering at 100% every day.