So You Say You Hit A Curb...

December 30th, 2016

When you’re out driving on a snowy or icy road, it’s pretty easy to have your vehicle get away from you…and if you’re lucky, you might hit a curb or end up in a ditch. Wheel Alignment in Bethlehem PA We won’t even think about the less-lucky scenarios.

What a lot of drivers don’t realize is that their vehicle’s suspension and steering components are pretty fragile, even on a heavy duty pickup truck or SUV.

An impact as slow as 5-10 mph can be enough to do damage to your tires and wheels, possibly bending a rim or stressing the steel belts and internal structure of a tire. The impact is a shock to your steering system as well; it can be enough to knock the front end alignment out of spec.

A harder hit on a curb can actually do damage to steering components and suspension. The control arm, drag link, Pitman arm and other parts can physically be bent by an impact on a curb. In some cases, a wheel alignment can compensate for this kind of damage, but if it’s too extreme the parts may just have to be replaced.

Every vehicle has a steering knuckle; while it may vary in design, the knuckle’s two parts are the wheel hub and the spindle. A hit on a curb can do significant damage to the steering knuckle, as it’s the closest to the point of impact. On a front-wheel-drive vehicle, a curb impact can be enough to damage the CV joints and half-shaft axles that provide torque to the front wheels.

The upshot is this: a hard impact on a curb or even a pothole can do some appreciable damage to your vehicle, even if it seems to be driving and handling just fine after the incident. If you’ve recently experienced something like this, it’s advisable to make an appointment with us at United Tire & Service in Bethlehem, PA so we can get a look and make sure everything’s okay. We care about your safety and your vehicle…so whatever you do, be careful out there on those winter days and slick roads. 

  Posted in: Auto Repair - 101