Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Can suspension components be bent even if car is in alignment?

Without going into detail, i am concerned there may be minor damage to the suspension components of my R front wheel. However, i had the car aligned, drove it like 60 miles, rechecked the alignment (computerized with print out) and the car remains aligned. Is it possible something can be slightly bent contributing to sloppy steering wheel function, while holding alignment?

@withthelightsout00 Your other thread has over 80 posts about your problems and frankly I don’t know how any of the excellent mechanics here can help you without actually seeing the vehicle.
One poster suggested ’ Buyers Remorse’ and they may be correct. Yes, it could have a bent component and be aligned but the sloppy steering is another problem.

1 Like

Yes there is a lot of Toe/in/out adjustment in the tie rods, however, there should not be a lot of play in the steering.
You obviously have been to the shop at least twice, why didn’t you ask them about the “sloppy steering wheel function”. Steering feel can be very subjective, it took me a long time to get acclimated to the feel of the electric steering in my Camry.

1 Like

Yes stuff could be bent and the car is in alignment. The tech may have installed a “crash bolt” or other such part that would allow them to get alignment in spec even with a bent part or bent mounting point.

Alignment “in spec” does not mean the car won’t drive sloppy. The tires have a huge part in how the car steers and drives and the alignment the car is set to may not “play” well with the tires. It may also mean there are other parts that need checking, like wheel bearings or the steering column or the joint between the column and the steering rack or even the rack itself.

1 Like

The alignment shop can only align the parts while the car is sitting still. But when you drive the car it obviously isn’t sitting still. The suspension system is constantly being jostled as you go over bumps, up and down forces, etc. The engineers who designed the car spec’d the parts so that if the alignment is correct when the car is sitting still, it will be correct going down the road. In other words a static alignment guarantees a dynamic alignment. But that only works if the suspension parts all remain to spec. If any are bent, the static alignment could be fine, but the dynamic alignment not so much. This would usually show up in unusual tread wear, but could show up in the way the car handles too. Aligment shops usually compare the parts for symmetry left vs right for this reason as part of the alignment job. The idea is if something is bent, the parts on both sides won’t likely be bent the same way.

car can be aligned with bent parts sometimes, but a sloppy steering wheel is a different problem than alignment, so you need to look at old, worn suspension parts, or problems associated with sloppy steering rather than alignment alone, ie ball joints, tie rod ends, etc.

Mr. Barky, not trying to be rude and you would be correct but this is a new vehicle the OP has banged into a curb according to their other lengthy thread.

1 Like

@VOLVO_V70 somewhere I missed new vehicle, must have been in the other thread you referenced?
Evidently so how astute of you, and not of me. And if I recall correctly the alignmet stats were on there, my guys go to center of specs, not just within specs, in case it matters.

Yes, this was a new car with only 300 miles on it. The impact caused the steering wheel to become off-center and the toe was off on the right front; which was the wheel that struck the curb.

The shop (instead of correctly assuming something was bent due to the steering wheel offset and incorrect toe…) simply adjusted the toe.

The OP was told several times that it’s quite possible to align a car with damaged goods present.

1 Like

The last time I got an alignment, the technician explained that one wheel was slightly out of alignment, but they did as well as they could. The problem is that one of the connecting rods isn’t adjustable, and evidently, either it or another component has bent or shifted. He said the only way to fully align it would be to replace the rod with one that is adjustable, but he didn’t think it was worth it.

So yes, it’s possible, and I wouldn’t worry about it.