A vehicle’s suspension is a series of shock absorbing parts and springs that keep your car driving straight, and from bouncing too hard when riding over bumps. It also helps out with the braking process and keeps the body of your vehicle attached to the wheels.
There are two basic types of vehicle suspensions: independent and solid axel. The main difference between these two is that both right and left wheels attached to the same beam i.e. solid axle, while independent suspensions make provision for one wheel to go up or down without affecting the other wheel.
Some of the most important parts of a car’s suspension system include tires, shock absorbers or struts, arms and bushings, ball joints, coil springs, and stabilizer bar link.
Like most parts on the car, the shock absorbers and/or struts need to be checked regularly as part of the service schedule of the car.
The shocks and/or struts in your car perform two functions. They dampen spring oscillation, and secondly, they aid in ride control. The springs in your car actually absorb road shocks (not the shock absorbers). Struts are usually found on most modern passenger cars as the shock absorber is placed inside the coil spring therefore saving space as it also acts as the wheels control arm and support. This set-up can make it expensive to replace when necessary. Though the usual life of these components is several years, but this is dramatically reduced by regular driving on uneven roads. A quick check you can do to see whether your shocks are in good order is to push down on the front of your car several times. If it levels off and goes back to place after one bounce when you relieve it of your body weight, the shocks are fine. The suspension system should regularly be checked for wear and tear as all the components will eventually need to be replaced. There is no maintenance required per-se but the system should be checked at the very least once a year and you should have your wheels realigned at this time also.
Factors that affect wear include:
• Driving habits
• Operating conditions
• Vehicle type
• Type of suspension system
• Frequency of regular maintenance such as chassis lubrication and wheel alignment
Symptoms that tell you when components of your suspension may need to be looked at sooner include:
• Uneven wear patterns on the tires
• Car pulls to one side when driving
• There is noise and/or vibration while cornering
• Steering Wheel shimmies/vibrates
• Any cracks or leaks
• Vehicle bottoms out after going over bumps
• Front end dives when braking
• Leaning too much into the corners
The job of suspension system is to stop you rocking and rolling when you are driving and though the replacement of these components can be expensive they are critical to the stability, safety and ride comfort of your vehicle and should not be overlooked.
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