Q: What causes play in the steering?

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There is play in the steering., a small spot where the steering is "loose". I also think I need brake pads as the front wheel seems to vibrate when I come to s a stop.

My car has 108000 miles.

There are mechanical components inside the steering system that do tend to wear over time and you may notice a little extra play over a period of time. Usually this feeling comes from worn inner or outer tie rods. The tie rods are where the steering gear connects to the wheels. A vibration while braking is generally cause by warped brake rotors. The brake rotor overheats and develops high and low spots and as the brake pad travels over these highs and lows, you feel a pulsation as the pad is forced back and forth. Consider hiring an experienced technician like one from YourMechanic who can come out and take a closer look at your steering and braking systems to offer a more personal diagnosis.

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