My Ford Taurus

I recently took my car to a service shop and they replaced the catylitic convertor, the c02 sensor, front lower ball joints, 4 wheel alignment, toyo spectrum tires (2). This took care of the serious vibration in my steering wheel but the car still weaves back and forth as I drive it. Sort of like a boat rocking on the water. I was told the 2 back tires, which I didn’t replace, are dry rotted. Could this be causing the uneven driving? Also I was told it is about time to replace the serpetine belt.

How much more should I invest in this car. It is a 1999 year.

Ball joints, O2 sensors, Alignment, tires, belts all normal stuff for a nine year old car of any make. The catalytic converter may have been your own doing if you ignored the check engine light for a long time with bad O2 sensors. Having said that drive it until major engine or transmission failure, but do keep up with normal maintenance with the most important being engine and transmission fluid changes.

With the exception of the converter, all you have done is replace things that normally wear out. YOu can spend a lot more on it. My opinion is that dry-rotting tires will not cause the weave. I think that you should find a new shop. Generally, new tires are put on the back. If these guys did not have a good reason for putting the new ones on the front, they did you wrong.

Have someone inside your car turning the steering wheel back and forth about 1 inch and see if your front tires move at the same time the steering wheel move. If it does then I don’t have an answer for you. If it doesn’t move then look closely at your steering components specialy your rack and pinion steering to see if when the steering wheel moves it moves in and out. If it moves at the same time then look at the rest of your steering componets. If you do find something bad and it was doing this at the time of the 4 wheel alignment it should of been caught at that point. JMOA

I was told the 2 back tires, which I didn’t replace, are dry rotted.

My I suggest that you may have made a bad decision there. How old are the tyres? Old dry rotted tyres are not safe. They are subject to unexpected sudden failure and they don’t have the traction they once had. Less traction in the back means if an panic stop or on slippery conditions you can easily find yourself looking at where you have been with the back end going forward.

I know you said they did an alignment, but the driving description sounds a lot like the toe in is not set properly. If the front tires are straight ahead the car will weave back and forth. The toe setting keeps it going straight.

All this reminds me of something to keep in mind as possibly worthwhile…

Local alignment shops here will charge you $70 for an alignment. The same shops will give you a 3 year alignment policy for $110 or lifetime for $135.

With a car that is near or over 10 years in age that otherwise seems to be ok, I view the lifetime policy as a great investment. Every time you replace a strut or tie rod, or anything like that that will require an alignment, you get one free. If you do the work yourself, that will save a fortune. Replacing a tie rod end, for example, is not unusual at that age, and I’ve been able to get a good quality replacement for $25, install it in 15 minutes, then get a free alignment. It makes all those suspension/front end issues that pop up (ESPECIALLY when the roads are so poorly paved you wish they were unpaved, like they are around here) a LOT cheaper…

Worth looking into, if you ask me…

But back to your car, I understand it seems like a lot, but the only cost there that I would be worried about would be the catalytic converter. The others aren’t great, but once they’re fixed, they should be good as new. And that’s a LOT cheaper than a new car. $200 repairs every other month for a year seems bad… but a new car will cost you $200-400 as sort of a minimum every single month for years to come…

BTW, I laughed maniacally at the alignment shop when I got that policy for my 98 Camry…


I’ve had the policy for just over a year and already have saved $75 (three alignments needed)