Signs of a Problem With the Suspension on a Jeep Liberty

by Maksim Khasin

The car suspension seamlessly connects the steering system to the tires to provide the driver with a smooth and safe ride. A good suspension will give the driver excellent control of the car even on the worst roads. The Jeep Liberty is a heavy SUV, weighing approximately four tons. As a result, the Liberty may experience suspension problems fairly routinely.

Loose Steering

A driver may suspect loose steering if the steering wheel is not in complete control of the movement of the tires. A common sign is a wandering wheel that seems to oscillate from side to side as you drive. The reason for loose steering is a loose or faulty bolt joint that reduces the driver's control of the car. The Jeep Liberty has had several recalls for this specific problem. Perform monthly maintenance checks to confirm that all of the bolts in the suspension are working properly. If loose steering is the issue, rectify the problem as soon as possible. This condition can be very dangerous, especially if you normally encounter many potholes and sharp turns.

Pulling

Pulling is a common problem in older versions of the Jeep Liberty. Pulling is indicated if the SUV gravitates to one side when the wheel is aligned perfectly straight with the road. Pulling may be a suspension issue if the tire alignment has been altered due to an accident or a faulty part. However, pulling may also be due to tire wear or incorrect tire pressure. Replacing the suspension or aligning the tires is much more expensive than replacing or inflating a few tires. See a mechanic to determine the actual cause of the problem.

Excessive Driving Noise

Some engine noise is expected with the Jeep Liberty. However, a highly distinct screeching noise at low speeds may be a sign that there is a problem with the car's suspension. The noise sounds as if two pieces of metal are being rubbed together. The cause is a faulty or worn power steering belt, also known as the serpentine belt. Its purpose is to drive several components of the engine simultaneously, including the power steering pumps. When it malfunctions, it slides against the shafts rather than turning them, causing a distinctive screeching noise. The sound may be temporarily stopped by applying a belt dressing to the inside of the belt. However, this is only a temporary solution, and the belt will eventually need to be changed.

Steering Wheel Vibrates

When the wheels are out of alignment, the Liberty's steering wheel will tend to shake at normal highway speed. This may occur due to a collision, loose bolts or impact with a pothole. In some instances, the tire alignment may be so off that the rear view and side mirrors will vibrate considerably. The Jeep Liberty has had several suspension-related recalls; in addition, the significant weight of the SUV magnifies any problems with the suspension.

About the Author

Maksim Khasin has written articles for ForbesAutos.com, FutureFace and various other websites. He holds a B.A. in psychology and a M.S. in genetic counseling. Khasin has written about everything from sports to cars to feminine skin products.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera trailer's suspension image by Diana Mastepanova from Fotolia.com