Regular vehicle maintenance involves replacement car parts. There are oil, fuel, and air filters, but you also must replace the battery, spark plugs, brake pads, rotors, tires, and wiper blades. If you’re an experienced driver, you’re used to all that by now. However, some lesser-known parts can also wear out and require replacement. This short guide discusses five of these parts, how they wear out, and how to tell when it’s time to swap them out.
Your vehicle’s suspension system takes a beating every day. Consider the potholes, bumps, pits, cracks, and other road hazards your vehicle encounters on the freeway or side streets. With that in mind, let’s take a look at three suspension components you may need to replace.
Shocks and Struts
Of all parts in a vehicle’s suspension system, shocks and struts tend to wear out the fastest. They’re designed to minimize vibrations from road impacts, but those same vibrations cause wear and tear. Other factors that could speed up wear and tear include damaged bushings and extreme heat, especially in hot climates. Look for some typical signs of worn shocks:
- Steering wheel vibration
- Excessive bouncing
- Unusual tire wear
- Leaking hydraulic fluid
You may also notice your vehicle “nose dive” when you hit the brakes or its rear end squat low during acceleration. If you notice these signs, it’s time to shop for replacement suspension components.
Connecting the control arms to the steering knuckles, ball joints ensure your wheels’ vertical movement to accommodate dips and bumps in the road. These components can wear out from normal use, but debris can enter the socket or the joint itself and speed up wear and tear. Excess vibrations, uneven tire wear, and difficulty steering signal that you may need a ball joint replacement.
Your vehicle’s control arms link the wheel assemblies to the rest of your vehicle. Besides allowing you to steer the car, they also permit up-and-down wheel movement. Ball joint failure can lead to control arm problems, with symptoms like uneven tire wear and excessive vibrations.
Steering System Parts
Your vehicle’s steering system lets you control its movement and navigate around obstacles. While they mostly work as expected, some steering components are more prone to failure than others:
- Tie rod ends connect the steering rack to the steering knuckles. Signs of failure can include loose steering, uneven tire wear, too much vibration, or unusual noises such as squeaking, rattling, or knocking.
- Power steering cuts down on the effort needed to steer by adding extra force through a hydraulic, electric, or hydroelectric system. Parts such as pumps and hoses can fail, leading to issues such as stiff steering, power steering fluid leaks, and strange sounds such as whining or squealing.
If you’re comfortable with DIY jobs, you can correct these kinds of problems by purchasing steering system parts and performing the repairs yourself.
Buying Your Parts
Now that you know about these lesser-known replacement car parts, finding them should be pretty simple. Choose a reputable auto parts and accessories dealer with an extensive inventory of products from trusted brands. Look for transparent pricing, timely shipping options, and knowledgeable customer service staff.