Get it to a tire and alignment shop immediately for an inspection, and you might consider calling a tow truck. For sure I wouldn't be driving it. Ford has had way more trouble with steering and suspension parts separating, leading to loss of control and crashes than any other manufacturer. Those systems should be inspected at least once a year, and any time you hear a new noise or feel a new clunk. In particular they will look at the ball joints, tie rod ends, struts, and control arm bushings.
Control arm bushings used to last the life of the car, but in an attempt to achieve better ride quality, a lot of manufacturers have gone to softer rubber compounds, and deteriorated bushings are the result. Those will not separate but you've already observed the unpredictable nature of the steering control. If you're involved in a crash caused by the other guy running a red light, you don't want his lawyer or insurance investigator finding worn or defective parts on your car. They will convince a jury that you were partly at fault because you were less able to avoid the crash, and they will be right.
A separated ball joint will send your car skidding into the ditch or into oncoming traffic. A separated tie rod end will cause loss of steering control of one wheel. The aftermarket industry has done a real good job of producing much-improved parts that are less likely to fail, but you'll need to inform your oil change person that improved parts are on your car so they look for their grease fittings.
A badly-worn strut usually won't get worse than what you described, but you should have heard a lot of clunking and rattling before now. The upper mounting plate can have a rusted center hole too, but that can't always be seen until the strut is disassembled. That can make it hard for your mechanic to give you an accurate repair estimate if he is only expecting your car to need new struts.
Thursday, September 29th, 2016 AT 12:08 AM