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Q: Need help diagnosing steering problem after hitting a curb.

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I hit a curb going about 20 mph and damaged my right tire. I had to replace the tire but there was only minimal scraping to the rim. I had the new tire replaced and the wheel re-balanced. Now I am finding that my steering wheel is just slightly off. When I hold it where it should be going "straight", it drives slightly to the left. It is so minimal, you can hardly notice it. Also, when I drive 55-66 mph the vehicle makes a humming noise. I am planning on going for a wheel alignment, but I am wondering what kind of additional damage I might foresee and what kind of cost might be associated? Does it sound like something a simple alignment can resolve, or am looking at a bigger problem? Thank you for your help!

It sounds as though you may have bent a tie rod. The tie rods are the links between the steering and the wheels, and they are normally pretty tough, but a good solid whack can bend them. Additionally, the new presence of a hum makes me think that you might have damaged a wheel bearing when you struck the curb. I suggest you contact Your Mechanic and have a technician do a front end inspection before doing the alignment. Your Mechanic can recommend which pieces need to be replaced so that the alignment can be accurate and long lasting.

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