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I’d like to talk a little bit about an experience that I had just last week. It involves the driver of a small SUV that I saw wrecked against a guardrail on a street that my wife and children travel multiple times daily. This SUV had crossed the oncoming traffic lane and crashed directly into the guardrail. My first reaction was, thankfully, I didn’t see my wife’s Volvo XC90 there, present in the crash. Then I pulled over to make sure everyone in the SUV was ok. After getting multiple assurances that there was no injury to the driver and passenger, the driver told me that he has simply lost steering control and the SUV went anywhere it wanted. Myself, being curious, took a look under the front of the vehicle to find that the ball joint on the steering link had fallen out. I knew that this joint must have been, HAD to have been, making lots of noise in the front end of the vehicle for a long time before this kind of failure could have happened. I asked the driver, did you notice any knocks, squeaks, or vibrations in the steering or suspension before now? His reply was, “Yeah, it is 10 years old, there were a lot of noises, but you can expect that at its age…”

Wow, now THAT upsets me. With all of the noises that he had experienced, he had NOTHING done to correct the problem. He put himself, his passenger, my family, and possibly YOURS directly in the crosshairs of an uncontrollable 2.5 ton projectile. I am by no means an advocate of more government control or interference in our daily lives. But I AM an advocate for yearly safety inspections for exactly this reason.

Please, if you hear any abnormal bumps, squeaks, or groans in your suspension or steering, listen to what your vehicle is trying to tell you! It is in need of urgent attention that may affect yourself or those you love, and the rest of us who share the roads with you. These sounds are NOT normal for a vehicle of any age. They are the sounds of a failing component in your vehicle that you depend on, your family depends on, to get you from place to place every day. Have your vehicle inspected yearly. Your family will thank you, I will thank you on my own behalf and behalf of my family. Your vehicle will thank you as well, with many more years of silent, comfortable, safe operation.