A vehicle that leans to one side is not only an eyesore; vehicles are designed to be balanced both in performance and aesthetics. A lean in a vehicle is often a sign of a serious problem.
How this system functions:
There are many parts that help keep your car balanced, both when you’re driving it and when it’s parked. When all parts are working correctly, the suspension, shocks, chassis, and wheels together form a nearly perfectly balanced car. These parts are all connected, with the chassis (the main frame of your vehicle) and wheels being connected in part by the suspension and shocks.
Common reasons why it happens:
- Stuck struts, springs, and shock absorbers: Struts are what suspends the body of your car above the wheels. They help transfer the weight of the vehicle to the wheels. They also contain the shock absorbers, which assist absorb the impact of the road so that you have a smooth ride. The shock absorbers are able to absorb so much force because they rely on coil springs. All three of these parts – the coil springs, shock absorbers, and struts – can become stuck on one side of the car. When this happens, that corner of the car won’t be able to move up and down the way that it is supposed to, and it will be stuck higher or lower than the other side of the car.
- Bent suspension or twisted chassis: The suspension and the chassis are two of the largest and most important parts of any vehicle. These two parts of the vehicle are the foundation of the car. When one of them is bent, or twisted, the foundation of the vehicle is no longer straight and balanced, and the car will lean in one direction or the other.
- Tires are not consistent in size: It goes without saying that a fully inflated tire stands taller than a deflated one. As such, a vehicle with fully inflated tires will be a different height than a vehicle with deflated tires. If one or two of your tires is low on air, while the rest are fully inflated, it can cause your vehicle to lean one way or the other. Or, if one or two of your tires are simply a different size specification than the others, your vehilce will have a noticeable lean.
How it’s done:
A mechanic can often tell where the problem starts by the way that the vehicle is leaning. However, they often will inspect the vehicle from below, to check the status of the chassis, suspension, springs, shocks, and struts, as sometimes it’s more than one issue that is causing the leaning issue. Some of the issues – like jammed struts, or underinflated tires – can be fixed, while others have to be chnaged. Serious damage to the chassis or suspension often means that a larger repair is in order.
How important is this service?
A vehicle that is leaning to one side is almost always experiencing an issue with the shocks, springs, struts, chassis, or suspension. These are all critical parts of the car, and should not be dismissed. Continuing to drive a car that is leaning to one side or the other can do further damage to these components. Even if the initial problem is relatively simple, severe damage can ultimately occur if the issue is not resolved quickly.
SEE ALSO:WHAT CAUSES EXCESSIVE CAR BODY ROLL