How do I calm a shakey tire?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Aug 01, 1989

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have just purchased a 1979 Volvo 245DL with 146,000 miles on it. I have several questions. First, when the car goes over a bump, especially when going around a corner somewhat fast, the front tire that hit the bump will vibrate quite a lot before quieting down. Should I have the whole front end checked? Second, my mileage is between 14 and 18 MPG. Will replacing fuel injectors and plugs improve it? And third, when I take my hands off the wheel, the car drifts left. Is this a steering problem and can it be adjusted?

TOM: Yes, yes, and probably.

RAY: Actually, I would appreciate it if you would send me your social security number, as I would like to buy you a very large insurance policy with me as the beneficiary. You could be driving a death trap. You have two choices here, Robert. You can either do your part to reduce the Swedish national debt by purchasing 2 to 3 thousand dollars worth of Volvo parts, or you can invest in a good pair of walking shoes. All of the items you mention should be fixed if you intend to keep the car--particularly the front end problems.

TOM: The front end problems you mention are likely caused by either a worn out ball joint, bad control arm bushings, worn tie-rod ends, or even a rusted strut housing. When these parts go bad, wheels can fall off--and that's not safe, even in a Volvo. Fix this stuff, Robert. And next time you're in the market for a car, seek the advice of a mechanic before you buy it.

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