I need help with a 2002 sable. In December, my wife had an accident, for some reason the car had trouble on a down shift, and the road was icy, so she lost the front end and hit some rocks. It destroyed the tire and rim and lower control arm, all replaced. It appears the frame is even a little bent. Anyway, I replaced those parts as I said and the steering wheel is a tiny bit off, not much, if your hands are at 10 and 2:00, now they might be at 10:10 and 2:10. that problem I mentioned where it seems to hang in second gear when going slow that caused the accident, seems to rear it’s ugly head when it’s wet out, no other time but recently. The left front tire went from OK to junk in about a week and a half. I checked the right front tire, it was pretty good. A week and a half later, that one is now junk. Alignment hasn’t changed, shocks seem fine, not rubbing on anything, no more play in any tie rods than there’s been since I got the car 2.5 years ago, basically nothing’s noticeably changed. What is killing my tires? I’m not putting good ones on until this is fixed, I have ones on it now so it can get my wife to and from work but I’m kind of afraid to even do that until I know what’s going on. I can’t afford a pro to get in to it though if I really have to I guess I will, I’m just at a loss. Nothing is visually off and to kill tires that fast it would have to be, I just don’t get it.
If you’ve not taken it to a pro, then how do you know the alignment isn’t off? It obviously is off. It need to go on an alignment rack, and possibly to a body shop. Even if there wasn’t an accident the alignment needs to be done after a new control arms. So accident + control arm = 200% reason to have it aligned. I’d say that if a good, reputable, local alignment shop can get it aligned then you can probably skip the body shop. But they should be able to tell you.
The left tie rod and spindle may be bent . . . along with the frame
You have all the symptoms of having damaged something. A tie rod, a spindle, perhaps even something else.
Please know that I’m not saying this to be critical, but until you know what’s damaged consider this vehicle definitely unsafe to drive. I strongly recommend that you take it to a pro. The bill will be a lot cheaper than a funeral. Or a lawyer, of the tie rod lets go and you kill someone and get justifiably charged with negligent homicide.
I’ve heard of folks doing their own alignment in their driveway. There’s various tricks they use. Long straight boards. Lasers. It’s just geometry after all. I 'm not suggesting this to the OP, it seems to me this car is in need of a pro at least for the diagnosis. Just saying if the OP has plenty of time to study up and arrange for all the associated hardware gadgets to do a home alignment, it may be possible to avoid the alignment fee is all.