Summer is the main season for road construction, which means there’s a good chance you’ll hit a bump or two, or come across loose stones and other hazards associated with construction zones. These road conditions can be tough on a vehicle’s steering and suspension systems and can throw out the alignment, while loose stones have the potential to damage the vehicle’s exterior or windshield, according to the Car Care Council.
The symptoms of steering and suspension or wheel alignment problems are uneven tire wear, pulling to one side, noise and vibration while cornering or loss of control. The main parts of the systems are shocks and/or struts, the steering knuckle, ball joints, the steering rack/box, bearings, seals or hub units, and tie rod ends.
The council recommends that motorists have their vehicles checked out immediately if any of these symptoms exist, as steering and suspension systems are key safety-related components and largely determine the car’s ride and handling. Regardless of road conditions, these systems should be checked annually and a wheel alignment should be performed at the same time.
Motorists also should do frequent visual checks of their vehicle’s exterior and windshield to identify any chips, dings or cracks. These are small problems that can become costly repairs and safety hazards if they aren’t taken care of immediately.
“Even the most careful driver, who is traveling slowly and carefully through a work zone, can hit an unexpected bump or other road hazards,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “The key is to pay attention to your car and if you think there’s a problem, have it taken care of as soon as possible.”
The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a copy of the council’s Car Care Guide or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.