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I have a 2012 Dodge Avenger SXT. Recently, I had a collision with an inanimate object which damaged my front-right tire and rim and also caused some very minor body & paint damage.

Immediately after the accident, I put the (not full-size) spare tire on and drove the rest of the way (about 50 highway miles) home.

The next day, I had my insurance company look at the car and provide a quote for repairs. Unable to immediately afford proper repairs, but still having a very drivable vehicle, I put them off for about three months.

In the meantime, I replaced the damaged tire with a used one and continued to use the car as my daily driver. I drive about 300 miles per week to get to work, plus occasional errands. During this time, the car drove very normally - if I hadn't been in the accident myself, I probably wouldn't have even realized I'd had one.

Last week, I took the vehicle back to my insurance company so that they could send it off for repairs. The shop took care of the paint & body work, replaced the used tire with a proper new one, did some repair work to the rim, and also did a four-wheel alignment. After the repairs however, I've noticed the car pulls very strongly to the right under heavy acceleration. It only pulls very slightly under light acceleration, and not at all at a steady speed.

The insurance company is claiming that this is caused by "torque steer", which is inherent to FWD vehicles. However, I never experienced this with the car until after having it repaired. Additionally, while my car is still in the shop, I'm currently driving a near-identical rental vehicle (2013 Avenger, base model) which does not exhibit the same symptoms.

I had the insurance company send the car back to the shop for another look, but the shop said there's nothing wrong. We suspected a contributing factor might be the new tire, but they say the difference in tread depth is negligible (the old tires only have around 8 months and about 16,000 miles - mostly highway - on them).

Am I the crazy one here, or is there something the shop is probably missing?

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Tell your shop to try rotating the tires by putting both rears on the front and the new tire on the back. Maybe the difference in tread depth is more significant than they think? Also make sure they check the wheel bearing play on that side. Also make sure they have checked the ball joint and lower control arm isn't bent. –  Mike Saull Jul 11 '13 at 15:49
    
@MikeSaull, these suggestions sound like possible answers to the question - you should submit them as such. –  Bob Cross Jul 11 '13 at 16:49
    
It's more like throwing shit at the wall and hoping something sticks. I don't have an exact answer to the question as such. But I guess suggestions could be considered answers as well. –  Mike Saull Jul 11 '13 at 16:54

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Tell your shop to try rotating the tires by putting both rears on the front and the new tire on the back. Maybe the difference in tread depth is more significant than they think?

If rotating the tires doesn't fix the problem my guess would be that under hard acceleration that tire is getting out of alignment and causing toe out.

For that make sure they check the following : wheel bearing play on that side, ball joint and lower control arm condition.

Also I just noticed that they repaired the rim instead of replacing it. That could also have been an issue so rotating that rim to the rear tires would help with that.

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The repair shop didn't try rotating the tires, but the insurance company's guys did. And now it works perfectly. Apparently the key factor lies in traction control. Since the traction control system detected the drive wheels spinning at different rates, and therefore attempted to adjust power between them, the 3/32" difference in tread depth was a bit more significant than it would have been on a car without TC. When the insurance adjuster tried driving it himself, he noticed the TC button and realized that could cause the issue. –  Iszi Jul 15 '13 at 16:50
    
Yeah that makes sense. –  Mike Saull Jul 15 '13 at 23:58

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