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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hit a pretty sizable "bump" in the road last week. There was some road construction going on and a section of the road had been scraped down and removed (full lane for about 75 yds). This resulted in about a 3" lip perpendicular to the road where the scraped section ended. Damn construction crew made no attempt at transitioning the two levels so it resulted in a near 90 degree angle. I hit it at about 45 mph and nearly crapped my pants. Impact made a terrifying "boom" and actually moved the windshield wiper stalk two positions up so my wipers started running. I didn't notice any obvious signs of damage after a visual inspection. However, I'm starting to notice that the car has a very slight pull to the left now and the steering wheel has a wobble to it. The wobble is apparent at all speeds but not what I would call severe. I'd say it's moderate and just enough to notice and annoy the hell out of me. At low speeds I can let go of the steering wheel and you can easily see it wobbling back and forth about 1/2". Haven't tried at higher speeds. When I put may hands back on, it acts as a bit of a buffer, but it's definitely still wobbling. Car is a stock 2014 with 27k miles.

I've got 27k miles on the original Eagle F1's. They have a bit of tread left before they get to the wear bars, but not a lot. The car already had a bit of a unbalanced tire feel around 70 mph for the past few months, but I was holding off getting them re-balanced as I was probably going to need new tires soon.

Questions:
What order should I use to diagnose this new wobble issue? I haven't had an alignment done since I bough the car used 13 months ago with 11k miles on it (never really needed one). Should I try to get the car aligned to see if that solves the issue? Or should I bite the bullet and go get new tires and see if Discount or whoever can tell if any/all of the wheels are bent and then get an alignment after? Or is there something else I could try to pinpoint the issue before going to get new tires. I'd hate to replace the F1's if they're not the issue, but if I'm going to drop money on getting them balanced to see if it fixes the wobble, it might be money better spent on new tires. This is my daily driver so taking the wheels off and getting them looked at at a wheel repair place may be difficult.

Any thoughts/ideas?
 

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Steering wheel wobble is probably a bent wheel; pulling to the left is probably alignment.
Was my first thought too, check the wheels. It sounds like it's a VERY slight bend. Otherwise it would be a bad shudder. Does braking increase it? If so, then it's probably one of your fronts bent...or both. Which they took the brunt of the impact so I'm betting it's one of them anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys. Braking doesn't seem to affect it, but i'll pay closer attention on my drive home today. Assuming one or more of the wheels have a slight bend, is there a definitive way to find out? Or is it best to take it to a place that can fix the bend and have them take a look? I'm going to try and get a decent look at the tie rods this evening as well to see if I notice any issues there.
 

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Thanks guys. Braking doesn't seem to affect it, but i'll pay closer attention on my drive home today. Assuming one or more of the wheels have a slight bend, is there a definitive way to find out? Or is it best to take it to a place that can fix the bend and have them take a look? I'm going to try and get a decent look at the tie rods this evening as well to see if I notice any issues there.
You could see what happens if you rotate your wheels/tires front to back. See if it still pulls and wobbles. That should tell you if a wheel is bent or out of balance. To test for bent wheel off the car you could try to have it balanced. They can tell if it is bent, since it will not balance and you could see it while the wheel is rotating on the balancer.
 

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Thanks guys. Braking doesn't seem to affect it, but i'll pay closer attention on my drive home today. Assuming one or more of the wheels have a slight bend, is there a definitive way to find out? Or is it best to take it to a place that can fix the bend and have them take a look? I'm going to try and get a decent look at the tie rods this evening as well to see if I notice any issues there.
A bend in the rim will be pretty easy to see just by eyeballing it. If you cant see it, it's not big enough to cause a wobble. Note that it might be on the inside lip of the rim and not the outside. If the tie-rod(s) were damaged, the toe will be off. That won't cause the car to pull, but most likely the steering wheel will be cockeyed when driving straight.
 

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One other thing I will throw out as a possibility is you might have knocked a wheel weight off. Any tire shop should be able to check for a bent rim and at the same time check the balance.

Reason I say this is one day we were driving in my wife's van, open road, I heard a loud bang like we had something kick up like a rock hitting the under side of the van. Soon after I notice pretty bad steering wheel vibration at 65+ mph. Later put 2+2 together and figured out a wheel weight flew off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks again folks. I've got a good friend who has a brother in law that works at a body shop. Taking it in there tomorrow morning for them to look at it. Not sure if I'm being hyper sensitive to the issue, but it seemed even worse on the way home today. Braking didn't seem to make it worse or better, but there's definitely something wrong. Shop is going to do an alignment, check suspension and send wheels out to get checked/fixed for any bends. I'll keep you posted.

Anyone in Texas (specifically Houston) ever gone after the county or presinct for b.s. roadwork that cause car damage?
 
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