So, I have been wondering lately if it matters whether you park your car with the tires straight or turned? Does having the tires in a turned position put more wear on suspension parts? I have been making sure mine are straight, but I thought I’d ask this dumb question since I often see cars parked like this.
If parking on a hill you turn your front wheels toward the curb when facing down hill and away from the curb when facing uphill . Otherwise it does not wear anything . You may be the only person to ask this question.
When on an incline/decline, you should always point your front wheels such that if the car rolls it’ll roll out of the road and, if there’s a curb, “chock” itself on the curb. On steep hills I like to let the tire actually contact the curb in neutral before shutting the vehicle down.
You never want to turn the wheels such that if the car rolls it’ll roll into the street. That can allow a simple error to become a disaster.
On flat ground, I like to turn the wheels such that if someone hits the back of the car it’ll roll away from the road. A parked car is much more likely to get hit in the rear than the front. Drunks have proven that nation wide.
Probably 95% of the time it makes no difference, but for the other 5% (being generous with guesstimate) it may matter. Of course we buy insurance to cover ourselves against odds, so advised parking habits are reducing your odds of a problem. I have never noted any issues to wear on suspension components by following suggested guidelines.
I guess it’s theoretically possible that parking with the front wheels turned one way or another vs straight might cause some add’l wear, tear, and stress on the suspension, brakes, or tires, but if it causes enough problems to affect the drivability, that means there’s a problem that needs to be fixed for safety-sakes anyway. There’s probably other effects of parking with the wheels turned, but one adverse might be that the flexible part of the brake hose to the wheel caliper is flexed or extended more than if the wheel were parked straight. OP could do an experiment, ten rubber bands stored stretched, vs stored in-stretched. However, as mentioned above, if the brake hose is affected by that extra stress to the extent it begins to fail, it needs to be replaced in any event.
BTW, turning the wheels all the way to steering stops definitely has an adverse affect on the power steering pump and hoses. But that occurs more when the engine is running, not parked with the engine off.
Point well made. It might cause a miniscule, immeasurable amount of wear on ball joints, tie rod ends, the rack, and even a rag joint in the steering shaft, however these are designed and made to withstand far, far, far more stress that turning the wheels cause.
And if it causes something to fail that’s a GOOD thing! I’d rather discover that my ball joint was about to come apart while parking than while cruising down the highway!!
Oh, yeah, and I have some similar experience. In 1976 the rear axle with wheel of my Vega came completely out of its housing while I was pulling into a gas station. It shook me. But I was darned glad it happened while I was pulling into the gas station… from there I was headed to the highway! The “weak link” failed, but left me alive to write this story.