Front end problems - any suggestions???
I've been having a few problems with my car recently. About 2 months ago, I noticed an occassional squeal when braking so I figured it was probably the brakes. The fronts only had about 10k on them so I took a look at the rears and being that they had about 75k on them, they were pretty worn and I figured I might as well get some new pads before my summitt coupon expired. I replaced them and it did nothing for my squealing noise. I sort of forgot about it because it is only really noticeable when the windows are down, and I didn't have them down too often in july & august! Anyway, in the mean time, I've noticed some sloppiness in the front end. It is kind of hard to explain, but when I go on a bumpy road, it seems like the wheels go side to side. At first I thought it was just some looseness in the steering wheel, possibly due to worn tie rod bushings, but now I think the wheels might actually be moving side to side. When I hit the brakes, the steering wheel moves side to side in my hand a little too like it does on the bumps. Every once in awhile, it will pull to one side when I hit the brakes too, but it seems like it only does it if the road is a little uneven in front of the stop sign so I don't think it is really a brake problem. The other thing that makes me lean away from the brakes is that it doesn't always pull to one particular side. Sometimes it goes left and sometimes it goes right.
Basically, I'm just wondering if anybody thinks the squealing and sloppiness may be related and if there are any suggestions as to what to check. I've partially ruled out the tie rod bushings thanks to Ross's help and there doesn't seem to be much play in them. I have recently considered wheel bearings because they can cause both the noise and the pull but I would think it would happen all the time if a bearign was bad. I', realyl pretty clueless when it comes to this area so please, if you have any suggestions at all, please let me know. Thanks!