2003 Hyundai Elantra Elantra in crash. Help?

Drive Train Axles Bearings problem
2003 Hyundai Elantra 4 cyl Automatic 30,000 miles

Hey all!

My beloved 2003 Elantra was recently involved in a front end collision. The damage was mostly confined to the front driver's side fender and quarter panel, and the worst of it was that the front driver's side tire was pushed back about an inch, so that it was almost touching the wheel well. I just got it back from the repair shop and was told they had to replace the control arm, spindle and strut. The tires themselves are only a year old, and in great shape.

I took the car to a trusted local mechanic for an alignment and he double checked the work the body shop had done, noting they had fixed the problem with used parts. As far as he could tell, he thought they did a decent job. After the alignment the car drives fairly well, though I can feel a few more bumps in the road than I did before. But there is one problem giving me some serious concern: when I make a very hard right, the steering wheel and the tires basically stay put and I have to more or less "force" them gently back into place. Left turns and a soft right are no problem, but the steering wheel and tires don't respond well at all after a hard right.

Does anyone have any idea what could be going on? I asked the local mechanic and he's thinking the parts they used were faulty, but wouldn't even hazard a guess beyond that. Between friends and sites I've found online, I've heard everything suggested from bushrings to tie rods, from ball joints to a faulty steering rack, and my head is spinning.

I'll bring it back to the body shop soon, of course, but I wanted to go back armed with at least a little information, a suggestion or two for them to check out, something they perhaps missed. Forgive me being an obvious novice. I'm not great at all with cars, and this is the first accident of this kind which I've ever had in over 20 years of driving.

Any advice, guidance, insights at all would be greatly appreciated! And if I need to clarify anything, please ask away.
Sunday, November 2nd, 2008 AT 4:43 PM

1 Reply

  • 3,112 POSTS

Based off of what you have said, you took a pretty hard shot on that side. If all they replaced was the control arm, spindle and strut I wouldn't be to crazy about that.

I have attached the Hyundai steering troubleshooting chart. To me they should have replaced the tie rods, ball joints if it did not come on the control arm. As you read, you will see distorted rack. I have attached a pic. You can not see the internal damage on the rack and may not be able to tell for a long time. But the rack on the side took a hard shot and if it drove the wheel in about an inch, that shock wave travels. I have attached the data stating that the camber and caster must be within the range of 0 ° ±30' or parts are to be replaced.

1. If the camber and caster are not within specifications, replace bent or damaged parts.
2. The difference of left and right wheels about the camber and the caster must be within the range of 0 ° ±30'.


I am sure they did a good job. Your mechanic confirmed that. So when you go in with the data, please don't go in armed to fight. Their defensives will be up and it is down hill from there. If you go in as a concerned customer just wanting to be educated by them and understand what was accomplished to your car so that you feel good about driving it and telling everyone in the world what a great job they did so you can refer all your friends there, that is probably the best way.

I don't like that the rack assembly took such a shot. Folks will definitely argue about a rack replacement. They are not fun for one and pricy.


There is a technical service bulleting out on a change in the alignment. I am sure they have it but, if the front end is not aligned properly it will not act right also.

Number: 03-50-002
Date: JULY, 2003
Model: ALL
This bulletin provides 2004 and 2003 model year vehicle wheel alignment specifications.
Specifications provided in these charts supersede any that have been previously published.


I have also attached the check for the steering wheel returning to center, or at least 20 degrees.

Steering wheel should return to this area with no problem.


Though you said the tires were still good, I would try swapping the fronts with the back. You may have cords split a little inside. Worth a try.

Last, ask for a print out, they should be able to supply you with a color print out of the alignment of your vehicle. It will show all the things in, close and even out.

Hope this helps
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Sunday, November 2nd, 2008 AT 7:24 PM

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