How to Deal with Loose Front-End Steering in Your Mercedes
25 Aug, 21
Mercedes Benz is well known for their high-quality luxury vehicles. However, this does not make them immune to noticeable changes in performance, such as looseness in front-end steering.
Front-end steering is controlled by a combination of the steering assembly itself and the suspension system. Looseness in steering is dangerous, as it impacts the driver’s ability to reliably and precisely steer the car where they need it to go.
It can be frustrating to figure out what’s wrong with your Mercedes, because front-end steering problems can be caused by multiple issues, which will be highlighted below. First, it is important to understand how this system is constructed to get an idea of how front-end steering and suspension are related.
The steering wheel is connected to the front wheels via a steering linkage that includes the tie rods. The tie rods help the front wheels turn and are connected to them via a steering knuckle, which is connected to the wheel hub. Also connected to the steering knuckle are ball joints, a suspension component that helps with both steering precision and ride comfort.
There are many more pieces to a car’s suspension/steering system, but these are the primary items to understand how front-end steering problems could emerge and why it’s important to have an inspection performed urgently.
Symptoms and Causes of Loose Front-End Steering
If the steering wheel of your Mercedes feels looser than it used to, it is often difficult to pinpoint the cause, as there could be multiple factors involved. You might notice the wheel drifting, have to fight against the steering wheel to keep the car moving in a straight line. You could feel much more vibration than normal, finding that the vehicle is not responding accurately to your steering effort. You may even hear new and concerning noises, such as a banging noise. This is indicative of a ball joint problem. Some possible causes include:
- Worn/damaged tie rods
- Worn/damaged ball joints
- Worn/damaged tires
- Front wheels out of alignment
- Loose steering linkage assembly
If your car is out of alignment, there can be other underlying suspension issues to be addressed. For example, if the wheels are out of alignment after hitting a large pothole a few weeks ago, you are likely to experience uneven tire wear as a result. The lack of proper alignment can also put undue strain on suspension components, causing further damage.
As discussed, the steering and suspension systems are closely related, have multiple parts, and damage to one often means damage to another. This chance increases if the vehicle continues to be driven without repairs.
The good news is that you can prevent excessive wear on your Mercedes by having it inspected and serviced by a qualified mechanic as soon as you notice a change in the steering response. This is imperative because, as noted above, if you delay service, it’s likely other components could become damaged or even fail. This not only makes the cost of repairs skyrocket, but potentially puts you and others on the road in danger.
Santa Barbara Autowerks for Your Mercedes Benz Service
The ASE-certified and Mercedes factory-trained mechanics at Santa Barbara Autowerks in Santa Barbara, California can ensure your car is safe for the road and performing at its best. We have over 40 years of combined experience and understand that your Mercedes isn’t just any car, but a German luxury vehicle that demands specialized knowledge and care.
We believe in treating the whole car and not just one symptom, so we’ll be sure to identify possible problems before they lead to expensive repair bills. We even offer a 2-year/24,000-mile warranty on qualifying parts used for either service or repair!
Please contact us to schedule an appointment at 805-966-3200 and learn why we are Santa Barbara’s premier shop for German cars. You can also schedule an appointment online with our contact link. Our hours are Monday-Friday 8:00AM – 5:30PM. We are located at 505 Fig Avenue, Santa Barbara, CA 93101. Let us earn your business today and get your Mercedes back on the road so you can drive it with confidence. Contact us today!
* Mercedes Car image credit goes to: Artistic Operations.