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Should my wheels have some wiggle?

925 Views 3 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Tifosi
Just out of concerned curiosity today, I stepped outside my parked car, and pressed my foot firmly against the sidewall of the tire, opposite from the pavement. I wanted to see if the tires were a little low on air. Instead, I felt a slight "looseness" somewhere behind the rims. There was just a little bit of play, but play nonetheless.

Is this normal? Should I be pulling my wheels and checking bearings, or having someone go through my steering rack? Should there be a little bit of play?

I don't notice anything too unusual when I drive. There is a little vibration, and the steering is pretty responsive. There is the slightest drift to the left, but that's it. The steering was checked in the spring, and the car was aligned last fall. All within the last couple thousand miles.

That's all I can think of, right now. I'd love to hear some opinions and advice.

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The castor arms where they connect to the upper control arms allow a bit of play even when they are brand spankin' new, mabe that's what you're seeing/feeling?

It would be kinda like the top edge of the tire can sort of roll in and out a bit while pivoting off the bottom edge.

Drift to the left is usually not a good sign of a proper alignment or can indicate among other things bad tire pressure balance. ('other things' being those of a potentially much more serious mechanical nature)

Most alignments are commonly done (unless you specify otherwise) so the car either tracks straight or drifts to the right (the US anyway) so that if you doze off you drift sort of gently off the road, not into oncoming traffic.
I did not know that about the "slight drift to the right" on alignments. Very interesting, and it certainly makes sense. I've always assumed that tracking straight was most correct. I'll check my tire pressure.

The tire rolls ever so slightly when I push hard on it with my foot at the top and I push in toward the engine. There is a definite "movement then stop"" that, to me, felt as though there could be a millimeter or two of play in the axle. It's more of a feel transmitted through the foot than anything.

I'll check my tire pressure. It's been a while and I'm due. The reason I even looked at the tires was because I felt the front tire skate a little on a hard curve and it surprised me because it's the first time I've felt anything like it with these Azenis tires. It's been incredibly hot around here the last few days, though, and there was probably something glazing the pavement in that one spot.

Oversoft tires often produce less grip ;) (so does hot greasy pavement)

Next time you've got a front wheel off, grab hold of the hub and try to move it around in the same fashion as what you were doing with your foot.

You'll find that camber bushing at the upper control arm is pretty easy to deflect and does have a distinct 'movement then stop' feel to it.

Road crown or camber can cause a bit of drift one way or the other also.

If you are on a conventionally crowned road, as in the center is higher than the edges, and it still drifts left, then there's something not quite right with the alignment.
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