MkV Jetta accident - car now pulls to right

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MkV Jetta accident - car now pulls to right

Post by CNPrior on Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:16 pm

Hello,
I need some advice please.
I slid into a kerb two weeks ago when it had rained in the UK and froze into black ice, it was treacherous. I slid into a kerb at 5mph (no more) and damaged my driver’s side wheel (RHS in the UK), tyre needed replacing and it had bent the suspension arm underneath the driver’s side – which needed to be replaced. All the work was carried out by a local body shop who are reputable.
Yesterday I collected the car and took it for a drive. I went straight to the Motorway (M1) since this is where most of my journey time is conducted. (I have 120K on the car, dealer serviced until 70K, but now I do it myself – where possible).
I noticed that the car was gradually pulling me into the middle lane (so pulling right in the UK) towards the driver’s side. It was NOT severe, but became worse the faster I drove (as would be expected since the speed accentuates any pulling to one side).
About ½ mile from the exit, the tyre pressure gauge came on…..brilliant I thought, this is what is causing it to pull to one side. So I headed straight for the local garage to check the tyre pressures. I put in 2.3 bar (33 psi) as indicated in the fuel filler flap. But surprisingly they were all within 1-3 psi of each other. So I topped them up to 33 psi and set off again. But could still feel it pulling to the right hand side.
So I headed back to the body shop to complain. The mechanic who had repaired the car came to see me and told me he had driven it that morning and that it was fine, at which I disagreed. We then took the car for a drive together, where upon a straight piece of road he also noticed that the car was very slightly pulling to the driver’s side. He commented that it might be due to one new suspension arm having new bushes and the other side being original. We headed back to the garage and they lifted the car on the ramp. A pry bar was then used to push around the suspension arm looking for ‘play’ in the left hand side suspension arm. The right hand NEW mount had zero play, but there was a slight amount of play but nothing I would consider as being worn or need replacing in the older left hand suspension arm (original – never been replaced to my knowledge).
Because the tyre had been damaged, it had been replaced with the same brand, same size tyre on the front driver’s side and I questioned if the wheel had been checked for roundness. To discount this from the equation I asked them to change the tyres from front to back (all 4 wheels and tyres had been upgraded to 18” only 4 months ago so they are not knackered).
The mechanic was 100% confident that replacing the left hand suspension arm bushes would cure the slight pulling to the right hand side, but stated this wouldn’t be covered by the insurance since this component was unaffected by the accident. My argument was of course, prior to the accident the car drive perfectly straight with no misalignment therefore my car should be repaired to a state returning it to its former condition.
My question to this forum is:-
If as in my case I have replaced the right hand side lower suspension arm with a new component (including bushes and ball joint) but the left hand side has not been renewed would this cause my car to pull to the right hand side?
I am not saying that the mechanic is wrong, but I am not convinced a minimal amount of play in the left hand side suspension arm could cause the car to pull to the right whilst driving.
What are your thoughts please about how worn bushes can affect the car pulling to one side?
Last point – the body shop have quoted me £95 for a complete new lower left hand arm + a cost yet to be confirmed for geometry alignment (I think they mean 4 wheel alignment here)…..it isn’t money I’d like to spend following Christmas but if it needs to be done then I will get it done – but shouldn’t the insurance company pay for this?
Look forward to hearing from you.
Chris


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Re: MkV Jetta accident - car now pulls to right

Post by Reaver 'Ant' on Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:29 pm

Hmm tricky one there Chris id have to agree with the mechanic on the insurance side of things because it wasn't affected by the bump the arm doesn't really have that much affect on the steering as such though if any its very minor. I presume they did a wheel alignment check on the car before you took it away? did they use the same wheel or was that replaced?

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Re: MkV Jetta accident - car now pulls to right

Post by CNPrior on Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:35 am

Hello Reaver 'Ant', yes they did an alignment check on the steering geometry before I took the car away- and all was within tolerance. The wheel was refurbished and checked for roundness ( so they say). But to discount the wheel from the steering pulling to one side, I asked them to transfer the front wheels to the back.
I'm interested in your comments where you say that the 'arm doesn't have that much effect on the steering'......this is actually the crux of my dilemma......the steering does not pull severely to the right, but it does pull.......my worry is that as it pulls even slightly that my tyres will get knackered quickly which will be expensive. What I can't get through my head simply is that the suspension arm bushes effect the steering......it just doesn't look that way from underneath the car when I look at it.

Any more advice or opinions appreciated.

Thanks,

Chris

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Re: MkV Jetta accident - car now pulls to right

Post by Reaver 'Ant' on Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:43 am

I can see that the arm would play a part if it were heavily worn but the arm is connected to the cars frame in two pionts along the same side as shown below on a tt

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now if either of these two arm bushes were worn severely you would get play but you say its not severely worn i honestly cant see it causing a noticeable difference. Whats the ball joint like on the end? and did they replace the track rod?

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that would cause minor play but then i guss theyd notice that on wheel alignment if it was an issue

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