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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday, I jacked the right front end of my car for an unrelated issue, and noticed that if I grab the wheel at 3 and 9 o'clock positions and try to movie it, it seems like there is some play. The transmission was in Neutral. Could this be some kind of problem? My front struts and ball joints have been recently replaced.
 

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Jack the car up. If the front tire moves side to side, it's tie rod ends. If it moves up and down, it's ball joints.

In your case, tie rod ends are probably the cause. They control the steering.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I don't think jacking up the car is going to help, since I don't understand how suspensions work. I'll take it back to the space that replaced the ball joints and have them look at it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Could be tie rods if you have replaced the ball joints already. Could also be play in the steering rack.
Do you think any of these things could also cause some play in steering wheel at highway speeds? On my last road trip I noticed a little steering wheel play before the car steers at speeds of 70mph or so. I haven't been driving on highways a lot recently so I don't really know if it's normal or something new with my suspension or steering.
 

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Bad outer and/or inner tie rod ends can cause play in the steering wheel, and lead to the car "drifting" somewhat requiring exscessive steering input to keep it going in a straight line.
 

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Do you think any of these things could also cause some play in steering wheel at highway speeds?
Yes. I would think it is the tie rod ends first, then check the steering system.

I just remembered though, once a shop told me I needed new tie rod ends but it ended up being a wheel bearing. Make sure you do the 12 and 6 o'clock test as well to eliminate that possibility.
 
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