Help Us to Help You – Tell Us the Whole Story.

A regular customer brought her Peugeot 206 to Drury Lane Services this week requesting a 4 wheel alignment and Geometry check following a series of steering problems she had been experiencing recently.  During normal driving conditions she explained that the car felt very unstable and that the steering was pulling to the right and to the left and had become very unpredictable.  The customer was particularly concerned because her daughter had recently driven the car and had said she felt afraid as the car was ‘all over the road’.

One of our experienced technicians took the Peugeot 206 for a test drive to ascertain whether a four wheel alignment and geometry check was an appropriate course of action.  The technician confirmed that the vehicle was very difficult to handle and recommended the 4 wheel alignment and geometry check as the first stage in the diagnosis of this problem.

Prior to the 4 wheel alignment and geometry check, the technician briefly checked the suspension and reported no obvious problems.

The Hunter DSP600 produced a very clear printout during the four wheel alignment and geometry check allowing the technician to analyse each aspect in detail before making any relevant adjustments.  In the case of the Peugeot 206, although the 4 wheel alignment and geometry check revealed a slight misalignment in the front toe, it was apparent that the true cause of the steering wheel pulling to the left and right was the caster angles.  The image below clearly demonstrates the lack of caster in the front wheels of the Peugeot 206.

According to manufacturer’s recommendations, the caster angles should be between 3.45 and 2.45 degrees.  The four wheel alignment and geometry check demonstrated that the caster angles were 1.5 degrees – grossly inaccurate.  It was evident that this was the cause of the steering instability and the pulling from left to right.

The technician now proceeded to investigate the cause of the poor caster alignment in the front wheels and hence the poor handling of the car.  With the vehicle elevated on the ramp, the technician checked the springs and steering and took a more in depth look at the suspension and gave a full report to the customer liaison officer who contacted the customer.  In order to gain a better understanding of the cause of the problem, a few specific questions were asked of the customer.  During the discussion the customer informed us that she had in fact recently taken the Peugeot 206 to another garage to have the suspension changed and the pulling to the left and right had worsened since.

Once the technician had received this information, it was very easy to continue the investigation and get to the root of the problem.  Dissection of the newly altered suspension allowed us to identify that incorrect wishbone control arms had been fitted by the garage and although the difference in the geometry of the arms is very subtle the outcome was not.

The customer returned the vehicle to the garage and the correct wishbone arms were fitted.

In order to ensure that the work had been carried out correctly, the customer revisited us here at Drury Lane services for another four wheel alignment and geometry re-check.  After a little expert fine tuning, the vehicle was handling perfectly with no pulling from left to right.

It was clear that we could have dealt with this problem much more efficiently if the customer had given us the whole story to begin with.

Here at Drury Lane Services we understand that you might have taken your vehicle for repair at other garages and test centres and just ask that when you do visit us you give us the whole story and help us to better help you.