How to Troubleshoot a Bouncy or Unstable Car

While driving your car, have you ever felt like you are riding a roller coaster but on a flat surface? Or have you found that your car starts bouncing like a wild stallion after hitting a pothole? A bouncy or unstable car can have any number of issues with the steering and suspension that may need to be properly diagnosed.

Using the following methods, you can diagnose faulty struts, tie rod ends, brakes and other components that are related to common issues leading to a bouncy or unstable car.

Method 1 of 3: Test the pressure points while car is parked

How to Troubleshoot a Bouncy or Unstable Car 2

Step 1: Locate the front and rear suspension. Park your car and then find the location of its front and rear suspension. The struts assembly is located at the front and the shock absorbers at the rear of the vehicle, at each corner where the wheels are located. These play a major part in the stability of your vehicle.

Step 2: Apply pressure to the sides of the car. Standing in front of your vehicle and apply pressure to the sides of the car, where the wheels are located. When you apply this pressure in a downward motion, there should be only minimal movement in your car. If you detect too much movement, it is a sign of weak struts/ shocks.

You can start at the left or right side at the front of the vehicle and then proceed to do the same at the rear of the vehicle.

Method 2 of 3: Check the steering

Step 1: Check the movement of the steering wheel. Feel the movement of the steering wheel when you are driving. If you feel the steering wheel pulling towards either side when you drive at a particular speed, it is not normal unless the road has a slope towards any side.

This kind of instability or pulling effect is more related to an issue with the steering components. All the steering components have pre-greased rods or rubber bushings that wear down or deteriorate over time and cause wandering steering wheels.

Step 2: Check the tie rod. Check the tie rod. Tie rods have inner and outer assembly parts that are used when the car has proper alignment of the wheels.

Step 3: Check the ball joints for wear. Check the ball joints. Most vehicles have an Upper and a Lower ball joint.

Step 4: Check the control arms. Check the control arms which come in upper and lower assemblies.

How to Troubleshoot a Bouncy or Unstable Car 3

Step 5: Look for uneven tire wear. Most of the time, unless we have a flat tire, we really don't pay much attention to the way our car’s tires are getting worn out. If we look closely, they can say a lot about car issues that we can't see.

A vehicle’s tires have a very important role when diagnosing instability issues. The wear pattern on your tires will give you an idea of the steering components that may need attention.

  • Tip: Always remember to check the tire pressure and rotate your car’s tires to maintain proper stability.

Method 3 of 3: Check the brakes

Step 1: Observe any symptoms at the brake pedal. When applying your brakes, you may feel a grab and release movement as you are reducing speed. This is a sign of warped rotors. The flat surface of the rotors becomes uneven and that does not let the brake pads grip properly, leading to ineffective braking.

Step 2: Observe any symptoms at the steering wheel. While you are applying the brakes, you may find that the car starts shifting towards the right or left. This type of movement is also related to uneven/worn out brake pads. This may also reflect as a jittering/vibration on the steering wheel.

Brakes are the most important safety components on a vehicle because we depend on them to come to a complete stop. Brakes get worn out easily because they are vehicular parts that are used constantly.

You can perform a diagnosis of your car’s steering and suspension problems, right at your home. However, if you feel you cannot troubleshoot it yourself, get one of the professional technicians from YourMechanic to inspect your car and check the brakes and suspension.


Next Step

Schedule Car has bouncy and unstable ride Inspection

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Car has bouncy and unstable ride Inspection. Once the problem has been diagnosed, you will be provided with an upfront quote for the recommended fix and receive $20.00 off as a credit towards the repair. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Recent Car has bouncy and unstable ride Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating

(21)

Rating Summary
21
0
0
0
0
21
0
0
0
0

Joel

21 years of experience
986 reviews
Joel
21 years of experience
Mercedes-Benz S430 - Car has bouncy and unstable ride - Jacksonville, Florida
Great service at an affordable price! Hermann
Mercedes-Benz S430 - Car has bouncy and unstable ride - Jacksonville, Florida
Great service!

David

13 years of experience
339 reviews
David
13 years of experience
Nissan Armada - Car has bouncy and unstable ride Inspection - Marietta, Georgia
David got right to work. He took the car for a drive, assessed the issues, and walked me around the car pointing out the problems that he found. He provided several different options to fix the problems ranging from inexpensive to a brand new car. I recommend him to any and every one.

Nathaniel

10 years of experience
250 reviews
Nathaniel
10 years of experience
Nissan Rogue - Car has bouncy and unstable ride - Virginia Beach, Virginia
He was very personable and explained everything clearly.

Rodney

36 years of experience
460 reviews
Rodney
36 years of experience
Nissan Versa - Car has bouncy and unstable ride - Elk Grove, California
found the problem with the car running bouncy and unstable!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Related articles

How Long Does a Lateral Link Last?
In In order for a car to ride and handle like it is supposed to, the suspension system will have to be working properly. There are a variety of different components that are located in a car’s suspension system. While...
How Long Does a Ball Joint Front Last?
Ball joints are an essential part of your car’s suspension. They connect your steering to your control arms, allowing you...
How to Troubleshoot a Car That Has Extra Bounce or Sway
Bounce or sway while driving a car can be caused by faulty struts, shocks, or worn out tires. Check and inflate car tires to begin the diagnosis.

Related questions

Car Clunking Noise

This is a common noise when the driveline U-joints are bad. Underneath your car there is a driveline that is connect from the transmission to the rear differential. At these connection points there are U-joints that can make this type...

2014 Lincoln MKZ has a bumpy ride.

Hello, thank you for writing in. Is this something that has been an issues since you obtained the vehicle? Did this happen suddenly, or possibly gradually over time? If the tires are brand new and properly inflated, the ride should...

Clunking on sharp turns at slow speed when engine is warm.

A common cause of clunking in the circumstances you describe is a faulty outer CV joint. Such can often be detected on visual exam and with simple tests. Failure of the outer CV joints will cause audible clicking or clunking...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com