Torque Shop

While I was driving out of a carpark, I misjudged a sharp right-hand turn and one of the front wheels mounted the kerb. Although this happened at low speed, the thud was quite sickening. Even worse, now my car keeps drifting to the left on straight roads unless I keep tugging at the steering wheel. Do you think the damage is serious, and will it be difficult to fix?

On a separate note, why are turns set at sharp 90 degrees, and why can't kerbs be tapered and not so high?

Any incident with kerbs can cause damage to a car's wheel and some part of its suspension.

Your car may have sustained a mild, unnoticeable bending of the tie rod arm, which maintains front-wheel alignment. In this case, a re-alignment will most likely fix the problem, unless the tie rod is bent severely. If so, it will have to be replaced.

Often, a collision with a kerb at a higher speed will cause distortion of the suspension's lower arm or even the suspension strut. In such circumstances, the damaged parts will have to be replaced.

Most workshops will refer to the strut as "shock absorber", although this long component that links the lower arm to the upper part of the front chassis frame is really the damper unit.

On some cars with complex multi-link suspensions, more elements of the suspension could be damaged during an impact with a kerb.

In any case, it is always advisable to ask the workshop to physically show you the distortion or crack before you agree to replacements.

On the subject of the kerb height and the sharp-turn set-up, we can only sympathise with you as we are in no position to comment on the layout and design of our roads or parking spaces. Just be more mindful in future.

Shreejit Changaroth

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2019, with the headline 'Torque Shop'. Print Edition | Subscribe