I have a 6 cylinder Mitsubishi Eclipse. It has front wheel drive. I recently hit a curb with my front wheel. It bent the wheel pretty badly and the steering wheel is now off-center. I replaced the wheel and the tires and had the front end aligned. I was told that there was no visable damage to the rest of the front end.
however since this has occurred, I have zero traction when on wet or snowy roads. Before I hit the front end I had great traction and could drive in the snow with anyone. Now I fishtail even on just a damp road. Could something be bent that is not visible or do I have a possible differential problem? Also there appears to be loader noise from underneath and the engine appears to be running harder like it needs to be shifted again, however the rpms are not any different than before. Finally it appears to be using alot more gas as well. Can anyone give me any adice as to what I should be looking for as a potentail cause for this problem. I do love my car and now I am afraid to drive it in bad weather.
Your mechanic overlooked something. The glaring clue is the off-center steering wheel. If nothing in the suspension system is bent the only way for the steering wheel to shift position is for the cross member to shift sideways. In the name of speed and cost, most alignment mechanics only do a quick visual inspection, then they look at the three main alignment angles, caster, camber, and toe. When parts could be bent, or when there's a handling problem even though the alignment seems fine, they also have to look closely at one of the secondary angles, "steering axis inclination" (SAI). All alignment computers measure it automatically and it will be on the printout they should have given you. A typical value could be around 28 to 32 degrees, but the exact value is not important. What is extremely important is both sides must be within 0.2 degrees of each other. If they are not, that must be corrected first, then the car must be realigned.