It’s simple to point the finger at common offenders like ball joints, bushings, tie rods, and control arms when your car’s handling feels off. However, a broken steering knuckle could be to fault. The steering knuckles, which connect the wheels, tie rods, and suspension system, are situated behind the front wheels. Damaged knuckles can lead to a variety of handling issues. For instance, your car might start pulling to one side, start to screech when turning, or tremble or fail to return to center while driving straight.
When determining the cause of handling issues, the steering knuckle is occasionally disregarded because ball joints and bushings associated to it have numerous possible failure prospects. But how does a steering knuckle begin to wear down? There are three possible reasons for knuckle failure that you should keep an eye out for.
Chassis parts that are pushed to twist and respond to the impact when hitting a curb or pothole may suffer damage. The alignment of your car can be affected by even a slight amount of knuckle warping, and other suspension parts may prematurely fail.
Broken or deformed bushing attachment points: In older vehicles with drooping suspensions, bolts may become stuck to the bushing’s inner sleeve. Damage to the bushing housing in the knuckle may result from drilling, grinding, or torching used to remove these bolts. The new replacement bushing may spin in the knuckle if the damage is significant.
Damage from road debris the components of the chassis are frequently exposed to water, dirt, and corrosive substances from the road. These have the potential to harm the knuckle’s mating surfaces.
Ball joints and tie rods, among other parts intended to fit snugly within these surfaces, may experience movement or motion that causes early part failure. If a worn knuckle is not replaced, it could affect the ball joint’s functionality and cause serious chassis failure. Therefore, it is advised that you thoroughly check the knuckle’s condition before replacing the ball joint or control arm. The knuckle needs to be changed if the ball pin whole exhibits evidence of severe wear, corrosion, or deformation. Additionally, look for wear on the ball pin’s taper, since this may potentially point to a worn knuckle that requires repair.
When installing and tightening the fastener to the manufacturer’s recommended fastener torque standard, the ball pin and the replacement knuckle should not have any visible space between them. Some people might think that replacing the worn bushings would be the more cost-effective solution if that were the issue. This could take five or more hours of effort because of the difficult-to-navigate installation angles of several bushings around the press.
The bushings may not fit tightly inside the knuckle if the mating surfaces haven’t been scrubbed clean using a wire brush. Any gaps between the sections have the potential to accelerate the failure of the surrounding parts. Given the length of time required to clean the knuckle and replace the bushings.