Not having your vehicle go where you direct it is disconcerting, to say the least. On urban freeways or expressways, where higher speeds and close quarters prevail, this problem can be undeniably scary. A common cause for vehicle "wandering," along with other symptoms related to some sort of imprecision traceable to the steering system, is often the steering idler arm. Other symptoms include a "pull" to one side, noise while turning, or noticeably irregular tire wear.
Although all vehicles do not come equipped with this component (you won't find one on a rack-and-pinion steering system, and generally not on a vehicle with unitized front "frame rails"), many do, including a number of different SUVs, light trucks, and passenger cars. If the vehicle has a steering gearbox, whether power assisted or manual and it's mounted to a front frame-rail section (either as part of a complete frame or a bolted-in subframe), chances are it has an idler arm. Some vehicles even have two.... Read More