Chevy Cobalt Forum banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I purchased my first car off a lot (2010 Cobalt Lt) and within a month I was driving to a new job site and fell asleep behind the wheel. I crashed into a concrete barrier and now my front passenger tire leans in at the top. I was told I needed an upper control arm but seeing as the cobalts dont have upper control arms I need help to figure out my problem. I'm already half way through replacing the lower control arm but I got a feeling it's not gonna fix my problem. PLEASE help ASAP!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,044 Posts
I'm going to guess, but with pictures, that's all this really is, is just guessing. My thought would be the steering knuckle. There is also a good chance the control arm was bent, but my money is on the knuckle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
157 Posts
I’d put money on the strut. The way the suspension is designed, the strut is the weakest point on the front suspension on the Cobalt. I can almost guarantee you will need one, if not also a lower control arm. The steering knuckle is cast iron and will have likely taken little to no damage. More likely, you could have damaged the wheel bearing, also referred to this design as a hub assembly. Another item that will possibly have damage is the inner tie rod end. It is a weak link and may have bent. Hopefully you haven’t damaged the rack and pinion at the same time, they are very weak on these cars and small impacts can cause internal damage that is not always obvious until other damaged parts are replaced.

I work on a lot of wrecked vehicles so I see this on a daily basis. I will tell you first off that if you replace one strut, you might as well replaced the opposite side. Most of the time on a car with high mileage or just an older car in general, replacement of one strut will cause suspension imbalance. So when you hit a bump or dip in the road, especially at highway speeds, you will notice the car is less controllable. You will have a stiff new strut on one side and a softer worn strut on the other side. The handling will likely suck. I actually bought two front struts tonight for my Cobalt. They were $37.99 each at Autozone, Gabriel Ultra G66810 are the units I bought. I also bought the camber adjustment bolts for $25.99, Specialty Products 81250. It came out to $110, so on a budget, that’s pretty dang cheap!

I have also bought the bump stops, got them on RockAuto.com for like $13 shipped. I am debating on replacing my strut mounts though. I work in a shop so I have access to a lift and strut compressor. Also I have an alignment machine.

Many times, people come to my shop having had someone else try and fix their car after an incident. Many times I’ll find they have missed parts or have incorrect installed things, even leaving parts loose. It’s ridiculous. But if they had started with bringing the car to me in the first place, I’ll usually be able to do all of the work at one time without missing bent items. Or even having the car driving around without an alignment. Usually people figure this out too late when they have a tire blow out or have badly worn tires from not having the car aligned.

BTW, mine is an ‘06 Cobalt LT sedan. So the part numbers for the struts and camber bolts will be the same ones for your car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,044 Posts
t
I’d put money on the strut. The way the suspension is designed, the strut is the weakest point on the front suspension on the Cobalt. I can almost guarantee you will need one, if not also a lower control arm. The steering knuckle is cast iron and will have likely taken little to no damage. More likely, you could have damaged the wheel bearing, also referred to this design as a hub assembly. Another item that will possibly have damage is the inner tie rod end. It is a weak link and may have bent. Hopefully you haven’t damaged the rack and pinion at the same time, they are very weak on these cars and small impacts can cause internal damage that is not always obvious until other damaged parts are replaced.

I work on a lot of wrecked vehicles so I see this on a daily basis. I will tell you first off that if you replace one strut, you might as well replaced the opposite side. Most of the time on a car with high mileage or just an older car in general, replacement of one strut will cause suspension imbalance. So when you hit a bump or dip in the road, especially at highway speeds, you will notice the car is less controllable. You will have a stiff new strut on one side and a softer worn strut on the other side. The handling will likely suck. I actually bought two front struts tonight for my Cobalt. They were $37.99 each at Autozone, Gabriel Ultra G66810 are the units I bought. I also bought the camber adjustment bolts for $25.99, Specialty Products 81250. It came out to $110, so on a budget, that’s pretty dang cheap!

I have also bought the bump stops, got them on RockAuto.com for like $13 shipped. I am debating on replacing my strut mounts though. I work in a shop so I have access to a lift and strut compressor. Also I have an alignment machine.

Many times, people come to my shop having had someone else try and fix their car after an incident. Many times I’ll find they have missed parts or have incorrect installed things, even leaving parts loose. It’s ridiculous. But if they had started with bringing the car to me in the first place, I’ll usually be able to do all of the work at one time without missing bent items. Or even having the car driving around without an alignment. Usually people figure this out too late when they have a tire blow out or have badly worn tires from not having the car aligned.

BTW, mine is an ‘06 Cobalt LT sedan. So the part numbers for the struts and camber bolts will be the same ones for your car.
Our knuckle is aluminium, I have seen a few personally broken after curb impact.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
157 Posts
You’re correct. The knuckle is aluminum, it is listed incorrectly in some places as steel though.

The suspension needs to be inspected on a lift with the wheel removed though. Trying to do it on the ground is more difficult to get a good look at everything. Hopefully this impact didn’t bend the subframe, also called engine cradle. I forgot to mention that part. This is where the lower control arm mounts, and is also what other items attach to, like the rack and pinion steering. Many times if it’s damaged, you may have replaced the strut and control arm, but still have hidden damage that can’t be seen in the subframe. Sometimes it will result in a caster difference that can cause the car to pull. Or also cause the centerline of the damaged sides wheel to be shifted back or forward.

When I start to repair a damaged vehicle, I try not to throw a bunch of parts at it, usually to reduce the cost to the customer. My advantage to be able to do this is having an alignment machine. I can take reading before and after each item is repaired so not to guess as how far off the alignment actually is. So looking for a show that can do this might be worthwhile. Just stay away from the chain shops because they will take you for a ride most of the time, as in you may end up spending unnecessary money where you didn’t have to.

As far as the knuckle goes, it may need to be disassembled to tell if there is damage to it. Sometimes is very obvious. And other times it’s only noticeable when trying to take it apart from the strut, or even when replacing a strut.

I would not even bother with used parts on these cars. I have found that used parts on something this old is usually worn out and more trouble than it’s worth.

If you can find a shop like mine, they should start by visually inspecting the suspension and steering. From there they should take initial measurements on an alignment machine. I don’t know what the car is worth to you though. The repairs may exceed the value of your car. I would say if the car is in overall excellent shape, it’s worth repairing. If the car is pretty rough and needs other work, you may be better off looking for another car. Unfortunately these cars are now worth very little. But the fact they are extremely cheap to get parts for may be the reason to fix it. If I get as far as repainting my Cobalt, I will have likely gone way over the value of the car, along with other repairs that I have already done and other I plan on doing.

If you’re able to, take the wheel off the damaged side and take some detailed pictures of the strut, knuckle, lower control arm, and tie rod end. Then post the pictures here. It would help with recommending repairs if we can see what is in need of repair.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,044 Posts
Pictures help very much, as does a lift. You can still get a good look at lot of things on the ground though. At a minimum get the front of the car jacked up and jack stands, and try to make sure you enough room to move around decently under it, and get a good look at everything. I haven't seen too many cobalts with subframe damage, but depending on how hard your impact was it is possible. the good thing about the subframe is they are all the same on every Cobalt, HHR, and Pontiac G5, so there are tons of them in salvage yards if it is damaged.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top