Join Date: Nov 2013
Mentioned: 100 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 920 Post(s)
Thanked 529 Times in 405 Posts
Groaned at 7 Times in 7 Posts
iTrader: 0 reviews
Ha! I'm that guy and I drive ALL OVER the country -- including up in the frozen north (but usually not when frozen) where "road" is not a very precise word for what cars travel on.
Check for play in tie rod ends, ball joints and suspension bushings, along with the dampers (bounce each corner, see if it keeps bouncing or stops immediately when you quit.) That which isn't working right replace. The usual cause of "loosey-goosey" feelings in the suspension are bushings and tie rod ends, none of which is expensive (but some are a pain in the butt to change.) This stuff should be checked when your rotate your tires as the wheel is off the ground. Takes a minute or two and a helper to shake the wheel strongly while you look for movement where there should be none. Pay attention to tie rod ends and ball joints; break one of those while driving and you will be VERY unhappy. They're not expensive or very hard to replace either but do NOT buy "Chineesium" parts for either.
Struts depend on the car. So far mine are ok. My Jetta went to about 150k before the fronts needed replaced, and I did all four at the same time just to save the hassle of doing the rear shocks later. The fronts were a pain in the butt, specifically, the pax side, which I engineered a way to get out without dropping the control arm (the official way to do it) which would have necessitated an alignment. Now, with 250k, they're getting a bit iffy again. Hmmm... maybe those aftermarket ones (Konis) weren't as good as the OEs eh? They certainly haven't lasted as long...
BTW I won't be buying that brand for the Mazda when the time comes. They look like crap (rusty); when the OE ones came out of the Jetta the OE paint and finish was still perfectly good. So much for "better" than OE eh?
Incidentally at 250k the tie rod ends and ball joints on the Jetta are just fine (!) The rear control arm bushings, however, are starting to show enough checking to be worth replacement although they're still tight and I've changed the strut tower bushings as well (when I did the struts.) Neither is serious at this point but the next time I have a reason to do anything with the suspension I'll change those and since there's a bit of checking on the CV boots I'll pull the axles, inspect the internals, replace what's showing signs of distress and re-boot them before the boots fail and destroy the joint itself.
Maybe there really IS something to that "German engineering" thing they talk about...