Q: Front right tire hangs lower than left tire when placed on jack stands of equal height.

asked by on November 11, 2016

This is the first time I jacked this car up. When jacking up from a centre jack point under the engine bay, I notice the left side of the car goes higher than the right side. After I rested the car on two jack stands of equal height on each pitch weld, I noticed the right tire hangs lower and touches the ground, whereas the left tire has about 1.5 inch of ground clearance. I have not notice any obvious suspension noise during the last week of driving. However, before I bought this used car, the shop said they did a tire alignment. Why is my right tire hanging lower?

My car has 40000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hello - your RAV4 uses torsion bars instead of springs to suspend the weight of the vehicle. Each wheel/tire carries a different amount of vehicle weight. An alignment adjusts torsion spring force to support each corner of the vehicle to a certain height - called ride height. Think of this as the distance between the ground and a point on the undercarriage that will be the same side-to-side. It will be same for both front tires, and both rear tires, although the front and rear ride height may be different. This may result in different "tire hang when suspended" distance as you have noticed. Test this by driving the vehicle onto an absolutely flat piece of pavement, then measure the distance between the ground and a front frame or sub-frame point that is common on both the right and left sides. If the distances are equal, the vehicle was aligned properly, regardless of how the tire hangs when the vehicle is suspended.

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