Question about 2000 Ford Focus

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Steering wheel off and rt front tire is turned off center

I slipped off the road into a slight ditch and now my alignment seems off. One of the tired in the front is leaning ever so slightly tilted... Is this my tie rod? Please help with any advice... Thank you!

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  • Ned C Cook
    Ned C Cook May 11, 2010

    No, tie rods don't control vertical orientation. The controlarms do. sorry.

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My advice is to have the front end checked by a mechanic - for your safety! There are components under the car, including the brakes, which need to be in good and safe working order.
The problem may a tie rod, but for your own safety and the safety of your passengers, I recommend you have the car checked.

Posted on Jun 29, 2009

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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How to Diagnose an Alignment Problem?


tire wear is a method of diagnosing an alignment problem
abnormal wear on the insides or out sides of the tread indicates a problem with toe in/out and or camber settings
wheel wobble at speed ( 20 mph up ) indicates castor setting problems
steering wheel not self centering after turns indicates castor settings
steering wandering on the road indicates worn steering /ball joints and or alignment settings out
car running sideways ( crabbing)on the road indicates worn rear suspension parts , broken center bolts on leaf springs ,and rear alignment problems which will affect front end alignment
this is indicated by the steering wheel position off center when driving straight ahead

Oct 14, 2016 | Cars & Trucks

Tip

Should I worry about my vehicle's alignment


Alignment refers to the way your car's wheels are positioned. Your wheels should be parallel and facing forward.

How does alignment affect my vehicle?
When your wheels are properly aligned, you'll get better gas mileage, your tires will last longer, steering will be easier, and your ride will be smoother and safer.

What could go wrong with my alignment?
Several factors could contribute to a shift in alignment including old, worn-out components including Ball Joints, Control arm bushings, and poor road conditions, resulting in a few different problems including Camber, Toe and Caster, and if any of these problems develop, they will take a toll on your vehicle's tires, performance and manageability. Worn out shocks and struts can also be a serious problem with un-even tire wear.


Camber
The wheels are tilted, either inward or outward. This will create pulling and tire wear.


Toe
A change in the distance between the front and back of the front or rear tires. This will wear on the tires, too.


Caster
A backward or forward tilt at the top of the wheel's spindle support arm. This will cause either loose or difficult steering.



If any of these problems develop, they will begin to take their toll on your car's tires and performance, as well as steering

How will I recognize a problem with my alignment?
Check your steering wheel when you're driving. Does it stay straight? Does it vibrate? When you are traveling along a straight road, does your vehicle pull to one side? Is your steering loose, or difficult to control? Have you noticed uneven tire wear?


Check your tires periodically. A number of different things can affect your tires - from alignment to suspension components.
As a general rule, you should have your alignment and related components, such as ball joints, control arm bushings, checked every 10,000 miles or once a year, and there are three types of alignment jobs with a good-better-best approach.

GOOD
Two-wheel geometric centerline alignment.
This adjusts the toe on your front wheels only. This will work only if your rear wheels are properly aligned. (Used mostly on trucks and older rear-wheel drive cars).

BETTER
Four-wheel thrust line alignment.
This aligns the front wheels to the rear-wheel alignment.

BEST
Complete four-wheel thrust line alignment.
This is the optimal approach: aligning all wheels straight ahead and parallel.

After a thorough review of your alignment, your The Wright Import technician will present you with the findings and all of your options before beginning any work on your vehicle.

What is a wheel alignment? How does it effect handling and tire wear? When should I do an alignment? What causes alignments to go out? How would I know if my alignment is out?

A wheel alignment is nothing more than setting the angle of the hub/wheel so it tracks in the right direction. Most vehicles have four-wheel alignments, meaning each of the four wheels is separately aligned. Your basic alignment consists of three angles: camber, caster and toe-in. Camber is the tilt of the tire when viewed from the front of the car. Positive camber means the top of the tire is tilted away from the car. Negative camber means the top is tilted in. Camber has a lot to do with cornering performance. Too much negative camber will wear the inside of the tires prematurely. Too much positive camber will wear the outside tread.

Caster is the inclination of the front spindle. Picture the angle of the forks on a bike top to bottom. When the caster is out, it creates a pull or wandering condition and sometimes a slow responding steering wheel. Toe-in is measured in inches or degrees. Viewing from the front of the car, it is the difference between the front and rear center-line of the tire. Toe-in means the fronts of the tires are closer together. Toe-out means, the fronts of the tires are farther apart. Toe-in or out has the most effect on tire wear.

When your car is out of alignment, the tires will wear prematurely. In some extreme cases, new tires will be gone within 500 miles. At the price of tires, especially high performance tires with soft compounds, you want to keep your vehicle in alignment as long as possible. Other symptoms of an out-of-alignment car are poor handling, pulling to one side, or wandering from side-to-side. An alignment will also affect the steering wheel response and how quickly it returns to the center.

Your vehicle's alignment should be checked every 10,000 to 12,000 miles. Any harsh impact such as potholes, curbs, objects in the road, or the damage of an accident, should prompt you to have your alignment checked. If you do any modifications to your suspension, raising or lowering your car, that will affect the alignment angles. Even changing the tire size will effect the alignment. Loose, worn or bent suspension parts such as ball joints, springs, bushings, and control arms will have an adverse affect on your alignment, too. In most cases you do not know if your alignment is out. The best way to check it is with a precision alignment machine. Laser optics combined with a computer allow for the most accuracy in alignment readings.

Remember you are aligning the hub of your vehicle. Check to see if the alignment shop or dealer has equipment that attaches to the hub, not the wheel. Many independent shops that do alignments have a specialty tool called "Tru Align" that attaches to the hub. This will make for a much more accurate alignment with the added bonus of not damaging the delicate finish on your wheels.

There is a lot more to suspension alignment, especially if you push your vehicle on the track. The modifications you make on your suspension are just the beginning. Once you start down this road you will be concerned with things like bump steer, weighting (vertical load), pre-loading, tire traction versus tire load, and more. Now you're thinking under-steer, over-steer, tire compound, sway bar design, and other topics that can be covered in a later article. For now, just remember to have your vehicle aligned every 10,000 to 12,000 miles in normal driving conditions.
If you accidentally hit a curb, or drive through a nasty pothole or other road obstruction, that would be a cue to have your car's alignment checked more often. Proper alignment is good for your car. It will save unnecessary wear on your tires. It will ensure that your vehicle is giving you the handling the factory designed the car to have. And, most importantly, a properly aligned car is safer and more fun to drive. Have your alignment, ball joints and suspension checked regularly checked regularly

on Dec 11, 2009 | Ford F-150 Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

99 mercury grand marquis.the steering wheel does not return to center on its own. And the steering wheel isn't in right position when the wheels are straight.?


the return to the center on it's own is a result of the wheel alignment castor setting
if it set at zero or minus setting ( -1 degree) it has no action requiring it to return to center
To explain how it works --- the angle at which the king pin is set back ( positive degree) lowers the car
when turning a circle , the car is lifted up and loads up the king pin
when you let the wheel go that weight tries to fall down and that is the return to center position action
so to fix that problem , have a wheel alignment done and set at positive degrees ( normally around 1 1/2 degrees)
next problem is when you set with the wheels straight ahead there is no allowance for the camber of the road ( used to allow water run off in the rain) that means that if you position the wheel straight ahead when on flat ground then when driving down the road you will have the wheel slightly off center to allow for the car trying to run off the road from the road camber
it could also mean that if you have had suspension or steering work done that the steering was not centralized when the tie rod ends were adjusted for toe in adjustment and so the box /rack is now set slightly one way
it could also mean that the rear end is out of alignment and the vehicle is running sideways down the road ( crabbing)
the fix is to find yourself an accredited wheel alignment shop and have an alignment done properly starting by aligning the rear wheels first and then the front many will say not necessary but I can assure you that it is vital for tire wear and vehicle handling and if they don't want to do the job properly go somewhere else

Aug 08, 2016 | Mercury Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

If my alignment is good why do my tires keep eating from the inside


Alignment is the left - right alignment of the front wheel. If you let go of the steering wheel and the car travels in a straight line it is aligned.

Camber however is the tilt of a wheel and its tire on the axle. Ideally the tire should be perpendicular to the road surface (most amount of tire on the road as possible). However if there is a camber on the wheels, in your case it seems there is one inwards, then the alignment may be correct but the vehicle will be running more on the inside of the tires hence your loosing rubber more on the inside.

I hope this helps

Dec 06, 2012 | Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

Whining from front left seems to be tire, turning to the left gives slight vibration in steering wheel


sounds like you have a bad wheel bearing, does sound change going around curves ?

Sep 03, 2012 | Ford Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

Car slightly swerving after minor accident.


you may have a bent tie rod or sway bar

Jul 17, 2012 | 2007 Hyundai Atos 1.1

2 Answers

I have trouble steering...the truck wanders over the road...i have replaced idler arms, pitman arm, center link, shocks, brakes, new tires, front end alignment, bearings...the right front tire sits...


when the steering wheel is centred, the front wheels should both point slightly inwards.
after the amount of parts changed, i would recommend that you get the tracking checked at a garage using the proper, calibrated measuring systems, to make sure that the steering is set up properly and safely.

Mar 30, 2011 | 1992 Toyota Pickup

2 Answers

When excelerate to 70 mph my steering wheel vibrates. What should I do?


This is very common. It can either be your tires need to be balanced. Or your car needs to be aligned at an alignment center. One or the other should stop the vibration.

Aug 05, 2009 | 2005 Lincoln LS

1 Answer

Growling/Roaring Noise Front End


sounds like a wheel bearing. typically when you take weight off bad bearing noise goes away. to replace bearing you will need a press to get it off and on

Apr 06, 2009 | 2003 Hyundai Tiburon

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