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I saw someone driving my car today (at the car wash) and I noticed after backing up, upon turning left some and moving forward, the front wheel lagged about 4"!!! It looked like it was going to hit the wheel well! O.O I was alarmed and I figured I need to fix it right away.

I'm rather sure it's the control arms, but before I spend all the money on them, I'd like to be sure.

Would changing the front upper and lower control arms (and bushings) solve a wheel that is not very sturdy in place? And is there anything else I should consider?

Thanks!

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If this is the case it should make a horrible clunk noise whenever you hit a bump. This being said, when did the tire lag? The explination is really unclear in my opinion. Did it "lag" when the driver started going forward? Did it "lag" have movement when they hit the brakes? Did it "lag" before/after the turning. Does the vehicle pull to the right or the left? Does it make a noise when you tap on the brake pedal quickly and firmly? –  cinelli Nov 20 '13 at 3:23
    
It lagged when the driver starting moving forward. And yes, it does make a clunk sound when it hits a bump. If the problem was really the front suspension, then that's awesome! I thought it was the rear end or rear suspension, as it sounded like it was probably coming from the back of the car, although I changed the rear lower control arms already. I didn't try tapping on the brake pedal quickly and firmly as the thing seemed delicate. Currently the front control arms are being replaced (with polyurethane bushings), so I'll find out if that was causing more than wheel play. –  JVE999 Nov 23 '13 at 14:50
    
If the suspension is currently being worked on then it should be having a thorough inspection as well. Since if it is a shop that is working on the suspension then they are liable for the suspension once they ship the vehicle. (this is due to the fact that they would be the last ones to have worked on it) –  cinelli Nov 25 '13 at 3:59
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1 Answer

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Really bad control arm bushings could cause your symptoms. They would have to be really bad to get 4 inches of movement. If you are seeing that much movement my guess is that more than one component is involved. I would not drive it unless absolutely needed. If you can safely jack up and support the front of the car you should be able to inspect the control arm bushings along with the tierods, balljoints, wheelbearings.

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Agreed. Jack it up and support the front end safely. Then get an assistant to grip the wheel at the 3 and 9 o'clock positions and move it fore and aft - you ought to be able to see where the play is. But as mike says, it is probably more than one component... –  Nick C Nov 19 '13 at 11:13
    
What other components could it be be? I read somewhere the improper towing can lead to bent control arms, so I don't want to rule out the control arms. In the future, to avoid improper towing, should I tell the tower to attach the cables to any specific location? –  JVE999 Nov 19 '13 at 12:14
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Those that are listed tierods, balljoints etc. If the controlarms were just bent the wheels would be out of line but not contribute to excess movement. –  mikes Nov 19 '13 at 12:39
    
The "nice" thing about diagnosing a problem like this is that all the parts are in the same vicinity and you can generally see all of them. If you can move the wheel like @NickC suggests, you'll see which parts are loose, broken or just worn out. –  Bob Cross Nov 19 '13 at 12:46
    
I got it diagnosed at NTB and I was told the control arms are probably ok, and that I should replace the tie rod ends and the bushings –  JVE999 Nov 19 '13 at 18:41
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