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Now's the time to solve undercar damage problems
If winter's potholes and icy streets serve no other purpose, they're certainly good for the alignment and chassis parts replacement business. A close encounter with a curb or other obstacle can easily knock a wheel out of alignment, so one of the things to watch for while doing an undercar chassis inspection is tire wear or damage that indicates bent parts.
Since you can't align worn parts either, it's important to make a thorough check for worn parts. You'll usually find such parts in one out of every three alignment jobs. Items to check include:
*Ball joints - loaded joints need to have the weight taken off of them before checking. If the joint doesn't have an internal wear indicator, the most accurate means of checking play is with a dial indicator. More than about .050 in. usually means the joint needs to be replaced. …