Apart from aesthetics, car buyers will also prioritise comfort. Several components make a car comfortable, including the suspension system.
There are various types of car suspension systems, but they serve the same crucial functions, which are:
- To enable the driver to control the vehicle, especially when stopping and turning, and
- To make car rides smooth even in rough terrains.
So you see, you should never ignore your car's suspension. Here's an in-depth guide on why the suspension is important, and how it affects several components that make your vehicle roadworthy. Suspension repair is as crucial as brake repairs and oil changes!
How important is a car's suspension system?
A suspension system supports the weight of the vehicle and is linked to several crucial auto components, such as the tyres, coil-overs, bushings, joints, linkage bars, and struts. A damaged suspension will affect the car's stability, making steering hard and controlling the vehicle impossible. It’s one of the most common causes of road accidents.
Stopping the car, especially during emergencies becomes a nightmare with a damaged suspension. You will have misaligned wheels, which create instability and make braking hard.
Aside from misaligned wheels and car instability, your tyres will also wear out prematurely. In short, a working suspension prevents premature wearing of the tyres and reduces maintenance costs.
What are the signs of suspension problems?
Knowing now that the suspension is linked to steering components, it would help you better if you had an idea what signs to look out for to promptly detect a damaged suspension system. Watch out for these symptoms:
1. Rough rides
There may be several reasons why your car rides are not as smooth you may be used to. Don’t be fast to conclude that it's the tyres (which can also be the case), because it may be worse than that—a damaged suspension. If you feel every bump, and your car keeps bouncing when you hit potholes, you may have a suspension issue. The problem may be worn-out shocks and struts.
Never drive with worn-out shock absorbers. They are meant to ‘absorb’ the bumps and bounces, and if they are worn out, you may find it difficult to control the car. If you do not replace them, you may end up severely damaging the car.
2. Difficult steering
The steering is linked to the suspension. When you find it difficult to steer, especially at low speeds, you may have a problem with the suspension. However, it may not always be a problem with the suspension. Sometimes the steering fluid may have run out, the belts may be lost, or the control arm bushing may be worn out. But do not assume, see your mechanic as soon as steering becomes an issue.
3. Pulling to one side
When a car pulls to one side, the suspension may be an issue. It may be a broken control arm, tie rod or spring. If this is the case, you will find it very difficult to control the vehicle, which calls for a visit to your trusted shop.
The issue may also be unaligned wheels. If you drive on rough roads regularly or have hit the curb or potholes several times, you may need to go for a wheel alignment.
4. Nose-diving or sitting low
If you notice one part of the car sitting lower than the rest of the car while parked, you either have a damaged or broken spring. A damaged spring causes the shock to take in more of the car's weight. If you notice frequent nose-diving as you drive, you may need to replace the struts or shocks.
How do you test a damaged suspension?
You can conduct a "bounce" test, which is quite straightforward to perform. Here’s how:
- Park your car.
- Press down on the front end of the vehicle with all your weight and bounce it a few times, then release.
- If it continues to bounce 2-3 times after the release, it’s an indication of a suspension problem.
What happens if you don't fix a defective suspension system?
A damaged suspension results in an increased stopping distance. An increased stopping distance means you will need more time to react to dangerous situations. In emergencies, you don’t have the luxury of time, which is the reason why a vehicle with a long stopping distance is harmful to you and other road users.
What’s worse, an unstable vehicle is more likely to roll over at high speeds or during aggressive manoeuvres. What that means is that you will be driving a death trap.
The importance of making timely repairs to a damaged suspension
Accidents on the roads cause thousands of deaths a year. Don’t put off repairing a damaged suspension for another day. One day lost can mean a life lost on the road. It’s as simple as that.
We understand that replacing parts can be ridiculously expensive, but don’t let that discourage you from repairing a damaged suspension. The good thing about it is that there are ways you can find high-quality parts that are reasonably priced.
Take advantage of Carpart.com.au’s Request-A-Part platform. It’s your direct link to parts suppliers. Simply fill out an online form and you will immediately start receiving quotes from sellers. You only need to respond to offers that you find most beneficial to you. Try it today!