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Q: How to replace bad bushings

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Hard to turn, clunking noise in front. Uneven tire wear

My car has 161000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

The front end of your car has many components that can cause clunking. Uneven tire wear is a factor of worn components. When the steering is hard to turn, it is usually because the power steering has quit working. In extreme cases, hard steering can be caused by badly worn parts. If this is the case, it is probably not safe to drive.

The front end of a vehicle is a highly complex system that will require someone with experience to diagnose. Each component requires a different method to test its integrity. There is one thing you can do though. With the motor running, you can have someone turn the steering wheel left to right within the limit of the play in the system. While someone is doing this, you will need to lay on the ground and observe what component has the play. Each connection in the linkage of your steering should move together as one. You will want to observe the tie rod ends and steering rack.

While your down there. Have the person steering the wheel recreate the clunking you are hearing. Most times you will need a stethoscope to pinpoint where the noise is coming from. Sometimes it won’t be necessary to use one. As with the steering system, you will want to look for any parts that do not move as one. Look for any play in any part of the suspension. Although, play in a suspension component is often difficult to find without knowing how to test items such as ball joints, control arm bushings, and sway bar end links etc. These are specialized components that require some analyzing of your individual truck to decide how to best test each component. This is where an experienced technician is invaluable.

I recommend getting this looked at by a qualified technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to get your brakes, steering, and suspension diagnosed. Best of luck.

Good luck!

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