Summer is the main season for “cone zones” – road-construction zones where motorists are likely to hit a bump or two, or come across loose stones and other hazards.
These rough road conditions can be tough on a vehicle’s steering and suspension system and can throw out the alignment. Meanwhile loose stones have the potential to damage the vehicle’s exterior or windshield, according to the Car Care Council.
“Even the most careful motorist, who is driving slowly and carefully through road construction, is bound to hit an unexpected bump or other road hazards,” said Nathan Perrine, executive director of the nonprofit Car Care Council. “Be sure to pay attention to your car and if you think there’s a problem, have it taken care of as soon as possible.”
The main symptoms of steering and suspension or wheel-alignment problems are:
• Uneven tire wear
• Pulling to one side
• Noise and vibration while cornering
• Loss of control
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 conduct 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.
Motorists can find more information to help keep their vehicles running dependently at carcare.org.