Steering alignment & repair

By David Sholicar

Your steering and suspension are closely linked, and nothing in your car takes more of a pounding.

person driving

Steering alignment & repair are often required in order to pass an MOT. Never ignore a steering problem; some are easy to fix if caught early, but lead to expensive repairs if they aren’t. The qualified fitters at Protyre garages won’t charge for a quick inspection.

Common problems and possible causes

When your steering wheel is centred and you aren’t touching it, the car should travel straight. Any pull to the side is not normal. A variety of things can cause this including problems with the tie rods, steering rack or steering angle sensor, but you also need to rule out problems with tyre pressures, tyre wear, or mismatched tyres. If the pull is only occasional, suspect a slightly sticking brake calliper.

If the steering wheel seems to vibrate or shimmy back and forth when you relax your grip, you may need a wheel balance or alignment. However, this can also be caused by tyre issues so you need to rule this out too. When tyres wear unevenly it can be a cause or consequence of steering problems, but can also be because you need the wheels rebalanced.

Our tyre professionals will soon tell you:

  • If shimmying starts suddenly, stop immediately and check your wheel nuts are tight: you don’t want to lose a wheel!

  • If the wheel seems to have loose “play” before it begins to steer the car, you need to have the tie rods and steering rack checked. It could be due to a loose component which is easily fixed, or to a worn rack which is more serious, or to a fluid leakage which can lead to bigger problems if not caught early. Worn strut bearings, ball joints or rack mounts can also cause this problem.

  • If the steering seems to be wandering when you’re holding the wheel still (especially when cornering) the power steering fluid level should be checked. It can also be caused by a loose power steering belt or a problem with the power steering pump. The same problems can lead to a power steering failure which will make the wheel stiff to turn, especially at low speeds.

  • If the wheel feels a little hard to hang onto when you go over a speed bump or pothole, or you can feel the road surface through it, it is like to be a suspension problem. Have your shock absorbers or struts checked.

  • If your steering screeches when you’re parking, the sound is probably coming from the power steering belt. It is loose, worn or your fluid is low.

Steering not feeling right?

Why not book your vehicle in for a front toe wheel alignment appointment at your local Protyre garage? Clickthe button below to book today.

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Improving steering with better tyres

Cars that run on narrow tyres sometimes corner uncomfortably at the front. This can often be improved with higher grip tyres or by swapping to some with a lower profile (more rim less rubber). Theoretically, broader tyres could improve it but they are a mixed blessing. Again our tyre professionals are the people to ask.

Among premium tyre brands, Bridgestone have a great handling reputation, especially the Bridgestone Turanza T005. In wet or snowy conditions, it is hard to beat Bridgestone Weather Control A005.

The Pirelli P Zero and Continental Contact range (PremiumContact, SportContact and AllSeasonContact) also deliver exceptional handling.

Choosing the Right Tyre Made Easy

When it comes to your car's safety and performance, tyres can play a huge role. That's why we've put together a collection of helpful articles to guide you through the process of selecting the perfect tyres for your ride and maintaining your vehicle in general.

If you're looking for a smoother, more luxurious driving experience, premium car tyres might be the way to go. Or, if you want added security against flats, run flat car tyres could be your best bet. Trying to decide between summer car tyres and winter car tyres? We've got you covered there, too.

We also dive into the world of tyre brands, comparing top manufacturers like BF Goodrich tyres, Bridgestone tyres, Continental tyres, Dunlop tyres, Falken tyres, General tyres, Goodyear tyres, GT Radial tyres , Hankook tyres, Michelin tyres, Pirelli tyres, Runway tyres, Sumitomo tyres, and Toyo tyres.

But we don't just stop at helping you choose the right tyres – we also share tips on how to keep them in tip-top shape. From checking your tread depth and keeping your tyres properly inflated to extending their life through regular rotation and balancing, our articles have got you covered.

So, whether you're a car enthusiast or just looking to keep your vehicle safe and reliable, our car help and advice articles are here to help you make informed decisions about your tyres. Check them out and feel confident in your tyre choices!

Need new tyres? Buy online at Protyre and save £££s!

Protyre stock a wide range of Premium, Mid-range and Budget tyres to suit any customer requirement. Why not browse through our stock to find the best tyres for your vehicle.

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About the author

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By David Sholicar
David is the National Retail Operations Manager for Protyre. One of David’s areas of responsibility and expertise is dealing with the DVSA and MOT’s for Protyre. As the Authorised Examiner Designate Manager ( AEDM ) David deals with applications for changes to the many Vehicle Testing Stations ( VTS’s) including managing the growth of the Number of MOT testing stations that Protyre operate, allocating MOT tester roles, and monitoring the MOT Test logs to ensure that Protyre MOT standards are maintained as the best in the industry.
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