Question about 2003 Ford Focus

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Ford focus feels unsafe and not holding road properly Alignment keeps going out and drives as though there's a buckled wheel, which has been checked out - also the tracking has been done to death but still it wanders

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  • pwm87 Feb 08, 2010

    Had all the bushes at the rear replaced and 4 wheel tracking done - front has been checked too...

    am at a loss

  • pwm87 Feb 09, 2010

    scubasmurf - cheers for reply

    In truth the car feels unstable at all times - but it's more noticable on the straight and yes, on acceleration

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Have a look at the front wishbone rear bushes, these can pop out

Posted on Feb 07, 2010

  • Mark Barratt Feb 09, 2010

    does your fault happen with change of throttle position,hard accelleration or changing down slowing down,this may be an engine or gearbox mounting fault.please clarify if it is poor cornering/ straight line stability/ brake pull to one side.

  • Mark Barratt Feb 09, 2010

    does your fault happen with change of throttle position,hard accelleration or changing down slowing down,this may be an engine or gearbox mounting fault.please clarify if it is poor cornering/ straight line stability/ brake pull to one side.

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Ford has manufactored nearly all Ford Focus with 2 degrees negative camber which tears up the rear wheels. To fix this issue you have to go to an alignment shop and have all wheels aligned to zero degrees. This is a safety issues. I have addressed this with Ford with no satifaction. I made a complaint via the National Highway Safety. Hopefully, this will generate a recall but more complaints will help. Why should we pay for Fords mistake.

Posted on Mar 02, 2010

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Also, get a 4 wheel alignment, not just front wheels and have all suspension bushings checked.

Posted on Feb 08, 2010

  • gerry bissi Feb 14, 2010

    maybe a bad cv joint. if boots torn, grease could be gone causing stickig of cv joint, especially plunge inners joints

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1 Answer

Nissan problem


This is a very typical issue on lifted vehicles being driven on the street. It is important to know that when a vehicle is lifted, the steering and suspension geometry change and characteristics will change as well.
My first concern would be with front wheel alignment. If front caster angles are too severe, the will fight each other over rough surfaces and cause the truck to wander or feel like a shake.
Also, front toe angles are crucial for proper tire wear and stability.
Have the front end aligned and checked. If there are no alignment issues, focus on the shocks and that steering stabilizer. Was the problem there before you installed the stabilizer? If not, check it for proper oil/ gas charge.
Weak or worn shocks will cause the tires to bounce and leave the road over bumps. Since the truck and been lifted, make sure the shocks are the proper length. If they are too short (even by as little as 20mm), they cause rebound problems and make the opposing side overcompensate with a bouncing effect.

Jan 03, 2014 | 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

I ran off the road into a field to avoid hitting a deer. It was abrupt & bumpy. Now my front passenger tire is bent inward and steering wheel must be sideways for the truck to run straight. What are...


If the tire on the rim is still holding air and the rim isn't obviously bent it should be alright if you go nice and slow but would still be a better idea to put a spare on it if you got it. Slamming off the road though it's possible you just threw it out of alignment which would be great, but then again you could have bent part of your steering linkage.

Nov 10, 2012 | 2001 Ford Explorer Sport

1 Answer

1. when driving the steering wheel keeps on shaking as the car moves and at first i thought it was the wheel alignment but i have sorted that out and the problem still persists. 2.when driving not on a...


1. Shaking steering wheel... typically a sign that your wheels are out of balance. If not properly weighted during a highspeed balance adjustment, they will wobble during high speed driving. Get a proper alignment and highspeed balance job.
2. Sounds like a suspension issue... however, that could be a few things you need looked at. Your shocks or struts may be worn. In addition, you may have springs that needs replacing. There are a variety of shock/strut applications that can have your car riding like a race car (stiff) or riding like a "more expensive" car (soft) and a lot in between. See your local tire and wheel specialist for more info.
Hope that helped..

Mar 09, 2011 | 2006 Ford Laser

2 Answers

I slid into a curb on icy road at about 10 mph and now my tire is toed inboard and it vibrates a bit. What might be the problem. thankyou


You have bent some part of the steering,most likely.
You want to check out the wheel and tire for damage, as well as the suspension.

I would go to an alignment only shop ,to explain what happened,not an auto repair chain or a dealer

Nov 23, 2010 | 2004 Ford Focus

1 Answer

I have a rattaling noise from the front wheel arches when i drive on bumpy roads -steering feels o.k.


Look under your fender well for the plastic liner that covers the underside of the fender. You need to take the tire off. There are about 4 screws holding this liner. Check to see if any or all is loose. Chances are the plastic inserts are worn out. They can be found at your nearest Ford Dealer.

Mar 13, 2010 | 2000 Ford Focus

1 Answer

Not sure of the problem. The steering wheel osolates a small amount left and right when moving forward. Also I can feel the osolation when holding the steering wheel.I feel that something has excessive...


its excessive wear or you have a bent road wheel, have you hit a big hole lately?
check all your tyres first,,,
try getting the road wheels balanced this may stop the osolation's

Oct 26, 2009 | 2001 Ford Focus

1 Answer

Wheel alignment is off


Have the vehicle aligned at an alignment shop.

May 27, 2009 | 2000 Ford Focus

1 Answer

Front drivers side wheel is getting violent


no it wont fall apart it just keeps on tilting so better check for wleel alignment

Jan 20, 2009 | 1992 Isuzu Trooper

6 Answers

Ford Focus vibration from the front end 50-70mph


I am betting on a tire balance. I have had tires out that only vibrate at 60; they were pretty smooth at 75.

Jul 30, 2008 | 2000 Ford Focus

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