Alignment / car issue?

mercedes-benz

#1

My car has around 87000 miles on it and has been through a tough time recently, driving down the road at a relative high speed of 70 miles / hour in the dark when all of a sudden the road changed from nice asphalt to deep ‘potholes’ and high bumps, violently shaking my car from left to right for a good while before I was able to slow down.

Immediately things felt different, my steering wheel turned lighter and more indirect and feels more “mushy” since. I also noticed when driving over bumps or in potholes I got much more play/feedback in my steering wheel.
And the car feels more “bumpy” while just regularly driving in a straight line.

I took it to a couple of shops and none found immediately anything wrong, however my car hasn’t driven the same ever since. It drives acceptable for a car, but not like it did before, so i can’t blame someone who hasn’t driven my car daily to notice.

I decided to have my front shocks replaced and those helped a lot with the feedback in my steering while driving over bumps and all.
However I feel some suspension parts are getting worn, but nothing is ‘loose’ or visibly damaged etc.

First problem is my alignment and steering wheel feel, I’ve had my alignment done 2 or 3 times after my front shocks were replaced. It never has been spot on like it was before, the last time I took it to someone they said, the alignment is perfect and spot on. But the car still drifts very easily to the right driving in a straight line over a straight road, tire pressure is fine, allegedly my tie rods are fine.
So I’m wondering if my springs need to be replaced as well?
I find my car bottoming out on new front shocks so ergo my concern.

According to my local guy my tie rods are fine, but I feel a slight play in them and more mushy feel so I might need to get them replaced as well.

Another concern that I have are my control arms, no play, no sound coming from them or anything.
Got it checked out by a certified dealership along with my tie rods, they found nothing wrong at the time.

I didn’t buy the car new at the time, so I have a hard time to know how it should feel like, and what kind of feedback or vibration is acceptable and what is not. I’m not sure if they absorbed much of the impact of the bad road or if the shocks and springs got the best of that.

So, I’m looking at new tie rods and springs.

New control arm right now? Not sure, I’m thinking about it for the future, maybe not immediately necessary

My rear shocks are starting to make a noise when driving over bumps from time to time, so they might need replacing too, not sure about the rear springs?

Also, is their a certain list of things to definitely check or replace after a certain mileage,
I’m thinking about this because someone told me to replace my timing belt after a certain mileage, I was wondering if other engine or suspension parts need replacing after X amount of miles?

Thanks in advance,

Kind regards


#2

Have you checked your tire pressures?


#3

Yes sir, I checked those every day ever since, they’re always on point


#4

The only suggestion I can make is to get it checked out and aligned. Can’t tell anything from here. :slightly_smiling_face:


#5

Jason, you have posted this problem a couple of times before and it seems you are the only one who thinks there is something wrong with the vehicle. My thought is that replacing the vehicle might be the best move rather than driving yourself nuts.


#6

I’d guess one or the other of the front tires have taken some damage. If the car’s been checked and found nothing wrong, rotate the tires front to back and see if the symptoms follow the tires.


#7

I’ve switched from summer to winter tires, both are on a different set of rims, and the problem persisted regardless

I have no clue, other than springs or tie rods are my best guess, but I’m a noob in these kind of things,

I’ve noticed my left side tie rod is rock solid, but my right side makes a slight noise when I rock it back and forth, I’m not sure if I can call it ‘play’

My car also always drifts to the right side

Before my front shocks got replaced it drove perfectly straight for a looong time without touching the wheel.
I had my shocks replaced at a certified dealership and when I got my car back they my steering wheel wasn’t centered, neither was the alignment done right, wandered off to the right a lot; they re-did it, but again same problems, took it to another place and got my steering wheel centered and the alignment was better, but ever since it has always been wandering off to the right a bit


#8

I asked a few body shops where they send crashed cars that need suspension and alignment work, and I got consistent recommendations for one place. Took car there, and was very pleased with the quality and price of the work. Ask around.


#9

Unlikely springs. If they are not showing a broken coil, or a noticeable sag they are fine. Springs are rather OK or broken. The tie rod should not have any slop. They should be free of an free-play but you alignment tech should have caught that. I personally would get out a tape measure and see if the wheelbase is the same right to left. Hook a tape measure to the back of the rear wheel rim and measure to the back of the front wheel rim. do that both sides. They should be close, 1/4inch, but if the right side is shorter than the left, it may cause a right lead. That really means something is likely bent. Hopefully a control arm rather than the frame. But your alignment tech should have cause THAT, too. Find a better shop, it my best advice.


#10

Thank you for the feedback, great suggestion


#11

I would replace a tie rod that made any sound and I would have replaced the read shocks?struts as well.


#12

Have you shown your shop tech the play you found in that one tie rod? If not, that’s where to start. Beyond what has already been suggested above, you may have a problem with the steering rack and pinion mechanism. Sometimes they can be adjusted to remove play. Ask you shop about that. If adjustment isn’t possible you may have to replace the steering box. Another possibility is the power steering pump was damaged in the incident. Ask your shop if they can swap in a known good one as a test.


#13

This is a “read flag” that the alignment wasn’t done properly. The wheel should be centered before aligning the front in order to get the rack properly centered. If it isn’t, the tie rods that connect the rack to the steering knuckles will end up being uneven when the toe is adjusted, placing the inner joints out of position and affecting the arcs that they travel in. And each side will travel in a different arc radius.

That arc radius is important, because the arc should be coordinated with the movement of the steering knuckle as it travels up and down through the suspension. If it isn’t, movement of the rack’s tie rods can induce steering inputs, causing wandering. And if those inputs are different on either side of the car, it gets weirder.

This may be the cause of the wandering off to the right, now that the alignment has been corrected. You may want to take it to the shop that corrected the alignment to get it checked out. It’s a separate issue not connected to the alignment they did, but it sounds like they have the skills to do the job.


#14

I’m not sure my steering wheel is 100% centered, I’d guess it’s more like 98%; so yes now that I read your explanation it makes absolute sense that it has messed up something. Could this damage other parts of my suspension?

I am gonna get my tie rods replaced by the shop that corrected the alignment, as i have the most trust in him as for now.

However I’m thinking about looking up a speciality shop specialized in alignment and not a regular general car shop, maybe talk to someone there first and take a look.

I am NEVER going back to the Mercedes dealership that replaced my shocks, my steering was was off center by a LOT and the car drove like it wasn’t aligned, even when I specifically asked about my alignment beforehand. I also had a so called Mercedes expert check my rack and pinion steering mechanism and he said it was all good.

The thing is, before I had the ““accident””, my car drove like a dream, I hardly felt bumps in the road and potholes feedback in my steering wheel, never had a loose steering / indirect steering feeling.

After I drove down the bad road, my steering became mushy and remained like that until this day.

When I took it to my trusted garage guy he re-aligned my car and it was still driving perfectly straight since then UNTIL afterwards I had a Mercedes dealership replacing my shocks ever since my car has never driven in a straight line again. So hmm!

So I agree with the things above

power steering pump to check out
my alignment and steering wheel need to be in perfect position
and my tie rods probably need replacing

Thanks y’all for the feedback it’s greatly appreciated and has helped me a great deal


#15

@jasonpalooada Looking at your other posts it seems like you have had the same problem since March, 2017. You have been told that the mechanics don’t see a problem and you are not happy with the Mercedes dealer. Your vehicle seems to be the A180 diesel sold in the United kingdom. From everything I have read the MOT there is strict. You can continue to fight this but myself I would bail and find something else.


#16

Oh, I agree and I will

it’ll never be as originally bought and that’s why I’m always looking for answers

In Belgium over here and not sure they’re all that strict here, some are, some aren’t.

I don’t care much about the car per se, I’d just like to figure out what the cause is of things, because I just do :slight_smile: I would like to know more about cars and expand my knowledge

I don’t plan on keeping this car for many more years, but a few will have to do if no serious problems arise, I’ll invest the minimal while making sure safety and reliability is guaranteed.

'Preciate the concern!


#17

I drive on pothhole filled streets all the time in Montreal and nothing like this ever happened. I still drive on the stock suspension. Maybe Mercedes has very tight tolerance compare to my 19 year old beater Corolla


#18

Me too. :smile:
I never pass up an opportunity to learn something.

Re: the 98%; that’s just over 7 rotational degrees off of center. Did you mean that it’s about 2 degrees off? 2 degrees may not be noticeable, but 2% could well be. It depends highly on the vehicle’s front end geometry, including the suspension as well as the steering. Short upper and lower control arms (or A-frames) with shocks, McPherson struts, long control arms, short connecting links, long connecting links, they’ll all act differently and different combinations multiply the possibilities exponentially.

Bottom line is, it ain’t right. Whether it’s acceptable to you is a personal choice.
It will not cause secondary or tertiary damage. You can rest easy on that question.
It might make sense to just get it corrected when you get the control arm changed. You’ll need an alignment then anyway.


#19

What year is your Benz, and what model? I wonder if age might have something to do with it. The bushings get hard with age, and hitting pot holes with aged bushings might cause them to degenerate as a result of that event. The bushings may have been checked when the other suspension parts were checked, but you didn’t mention them.


#20

It’s a 2012 w169 model (I know it’s not a very “manly” car as some say, but I’m European after all :smile: ) , I had my entire suspension checked by a local guy twice and once by Mercedes themselves, they didn’t really notice anything right after the incident, they didn’t mention anything about bad bushings or ball joints

My tie rod ball joints feel good, the light noticeable noise is coming from the inner tie rod, so there might be something getting worn out in there