How To Know If Hitting A Curb Damaged Your Car
You may think that hitting the curb with your car is no big deal. But, in reality, hitting the curb could cause significant mechanical problems.
Your vehicle’s suspension is very complex. The suspension consists of many different parts that can be damaged easily even if the impact with the curb is as slow as 5 or 10 miles per hour. The faster you are going, and the higher the curb will increase the damage to your vehicle.
Check For Alignment Damage
A major problem resulting from hitting the curb is throwing your car’s suspension out of alignment. This will lead to uneven tire wear in as little as 200 miles. Your tire may also have suffered damage to the sidewall that could lead to a possibly dangerous blowout. If the impact bent the rim, the steering wheel would wobble back and forth. You may also notice your car drifting or pulling either to the right or to the left which indicates that the alignment was affected.
Inspecting suspension components
A safe way to check your car’s alignment is to take it to an empty parking lot and drive the vehicle slowly in a straight line. Look at the steering wheel and see if it is pointing straight ahead. If the wheel is cocked to one side, this indicates that, at a minimum, your car needs to be realigned.
Check For Severe Suspension Damage
But that could be just the beginning of the problem.
The front suspension consists of several key parts, including control arms that allow the car’s suspension to move up and down while holding other parts in place, and a spindle or steering knuckle that contains the wheel hub. Damage to any of these components will result in difficulty controlling and driving your vehicle.
A common symptom of a bad suspension due to curb damage: Lots of bouncing. Your car’s suspension should be preventing you from being tossed around when going over speed bumps or potholes. For instance, a broken suspension arm may cause your vehicle to slam down forcibly whenever it encounters a bump.
If it feels like you’re on a roller coaster every time you go over a bumpy road, get a suspension inspection, and get it pronto! Bad suspension problems only get worse.
Trust your car to the experts
Paying Attention To Changes In Steering
Curbs can even damage car tie rods, which act as connections between your steering column, driveshaft, and wheels. Broken tie rods reduce your ability to control the car during turns, especially when San Antonio roads get slicker in the winter months. The only solution at that point is to replace your tie rods entirely, and doing so requires an expert mechanic.
If you’ve hit a curb, you may also have broken sway bars (or anti-roll bar). Sway bars are essential parts of the suspension that prevent your car from “swaying” or rolling when turning. Typically, a disconnected or bad sway bar will present with rattling sounds, poor handling, a loose steering wheel, or even full loss of control around turns. While it’s possible to drive with a broken anti-roll or stabilizer bar, it’s best not to.
Check Your Transmission
You may not think it’s possible, but that curb you hit last week might have damaged your transmission case, causing noticeable problems with how you shift, especially if your vehicle is FWD. Hitting a curb hard enough can shift your axle and wheel shaft into the transmission. Even a slight jolt to the case can do harm.
If you run over a curb and scrape the bottom of your car, it can even disconnect linkages and cables from the transmission case housing itself. Worse yet, curbs can damage your transmission fluid and cooling lines, bust open your oil pan, or break off the valve entirely. If you notice problems shifting after hitting a curb, get it checked out at a service center. Most professional mechanics are trained to spot these issues quickly.
Avoid Hitting Sharp Objects Like The Plague
If the curb you hit is more like the tip of a mining pick, the damage may be much more severe. Sharp objects, as you might suspect, can be a huge problem if they encounter the undercarriage or frame of your car, damaging anything from brake lines to fuel lines to drive shafts to even the exhaust system (primarily mufflers and catalytic converters).
Any drops in fuel economy following your encounter with a curb, or dashboard lights that illuminate and indicate there’s a problem with your oil, could be signs of trouble. Here’s a good guide to avoid potholes and curb damage.
Need Help With Repairs? Bring Your Car to Northside Ford!
If your car has hit a curb, the last thing you want to do is ignore it. Driving your car in this situation could lead to further damage and higher repair costs. We strongly recommend that you take your Ford to our Northside Ford Auto Repair & Service Center. Our highly trained and skilled automotive technicians will inspect and evaluate your Ford and determine if any repairs are necessary.
If your Ford requires repairs resulting from hitting a curb, rest assured that we only use Genuine Ford Parts. Our team of factory-trained automotive repair service specialists is not only expert in repairing Fords, but also service most makes and models of cars, minivans, and trucks. We use state-of-the-art equipment and the latest techniques.
When you bring your car to our Northside Ford auto collision repair shop in San Antonio, you can do with confidence knowing that we have the expertise and experience to get you back on the road. We also make it easy for you to schedule automotive service online. And you’ll save money with our many auto repair service specials near San Antonio.
So, if your car has hit the curb, don’t delay. Take it to your 2016 Edmunds.com 5-Star Dealer Award-winning Ford dealership near San Antonio, Northside Ford, today. We’re conveniently located at 12300 San Pedro Ave, San Antonio, TX 78216. To contact our Service Department, please call 844-281-5493.