The steering wheel of the Nissan 610 jerks even if the vehicle is driven at slow speed or it's idling. Is this normal? What could be causing this unusual steering wheel movement? What are the things I should check?
At first, this may seem harmless. Steering and handling can go well, but if you don't identify the problem right away, this can get worse. For steering wheel jerks, you have several causes to consider. One of them is a damaged or loose power steering drive belt. By fixing the belt or replacing it, the steering wheel won't jump or jerk anymore. Another thing to consider is the fluid level. Check the reservoir to see if there's enough power steering fluid or if it has already dropped low. Aside from the fluid, you should also see if the power steering pump is working well or if there's enough pressure. While at it, also inspect the steering linkage for damage or wear. The problem may not only be blamed on the steering system itself. It's also possible that the engine is idling too low.
When I checked on the tires of my Nissan, I found an unusual wear pattern. There's wear concentrated only on one side. The rib seems to have worn out faster than the other portions of the tire. What could this mean? Is it normal?
When the inner or outer rib seems to have developed wear faster than the other parts, this means that the vehicle needs a wheel alignment. This unusual wear pattern is typically caused by excessive camber in the front suspension. This makes the wheel lean more on one side, placing more load here. Before you have the wheels aligned, find out the cause of misalignment. This can be due to worn-out ball joints or broken arm bushings. The misalignment can also be caused by sagging springs. As you have the wheels aligned, also check the load as this can have a huge impact on alignment.
How can I tell if the tires are under- or over-inflated through the wear patterns?
Under-inflated tires usually develop wear that can be spotted on both edges, particularly on the outer side. This is because when there's low air pressure, tire contact with the road is more on the outer treads. Under-inflated tires will generate heat excessively, and this can cause the tires to be softer. Softer tires have higher rolling resistance and cause decreased fuel mileage in the long run. That's why tire pressure should be checked regularly. If tire pressure strangely appears right or within specs, this kind of wear can be blamed on worn-out or bent steering components such as steering or idler arms. These can lead to improper toe-in and unusual handling when turning.
Over-inflated tires, meanwhile, tend to accelerate wear on the center tread. This happens when air pressure usually exceeds the recommended inflation. This kind of wear happens when wide tires are matched to narrow trims. In which case, either the wheels or tires should be replaced. When inflation is gauged simply through visual inspection, consistent high tire pressure may occur. This is because when tires appear like they have bulges at the bottom, some would simply pump more air in them to remove these bulges. Without a reliable tire gauge to guide them, they could put too much air pressure in the tires.