Hello, I'm Chris, a current Ford Lincoln Mercury employee.
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You need to raise up the front end ( this must be done with a jack and it has to be on the lower control arm as close to the tire as possible) and get the tires about 1 inch off the ground. Now hold the upper and lower ball joints while picking up the tire via a pry bar. This will check for ball joint fatigue.
Now inspect the stabilizer bar end links for bushing damage.
Now have someone wiggle the steering wheel back and forth with the engine off and the key on to see if there are any concerns felt in any of the steering linkage joints before or aft the steering gear.