Having Problems Staying on the Road? Could Be Your Steering
One of the most common car complaints consists of your car not going in a straight line. While the factors that cause this varies on a case to case basis, it is more than likely than something mechanical in nature is the source. Before you take your car into your local autobody shop, consider this possibility.
A car that has a hard time going in a straight line has a mis-alignment. It can simply be the tires having unequal amounts of air in it (maybe even a flat tire), or the road being slopped. The small pieces of weight that balance the tires can also be a cause. If these are not the reasons, consider more extreme causes.
Steering mechanisms and suspension pieces play a large and important role in keeping your car in a straight line and you safe. A worn out control arm (helps keep your wheel upright) can cause wheel wobble and the car to veer. Or, worn out shocks can do the same (though things such as a bouncy ride and your car nose diving while braking will clue you in on worn out shocks and struts). A little known part, the tie-rod ends, will greatly affect your steering.
The tie rod ends are the pieces mechanics often adjust to make your car drive in a straight line (alignment). Though the replacement intervals are often long, they can get worn out due to driving conditions and styles. One way to check if they are worn is to examine the rubber boots. If they appear to be cracked or leaking grease, chances are they need to be replaced.
As a rule of thumb, the costs of the parts will start around $50 for a pair, plus labor. A higher quality rand will obviously affect the price. The replacement of them will more than likely keep your car going in a straight line, and make the steering wheel less wiggly.
If you are not a trained and certified auto mechanic or simply need a second opinion take your car to a trusted ASE certified mechanic. We highly suggest this as your safety can never be compromised. This article serves merely as a reference, and allows you to clue in your mechanic on what might be your car problem.