When someone talks about car performance, what do you think? For most people, they think horsepower. How fast it takes for a car to move from zero to sixty. How quickly a car moves off the line.
That’s all a part of performance. And the engine is a big part of how well a car performs.
But without the suspension system, there wouldn’t be a way to control a car. The car quite literally would be out of control.
The job of a suspension system is stability. It’s designed to maximize friction between the tires and the road. The steering should be stable and easy to control. All of it is to ensure the passengers are comfortable and safe throughout the ride.
If all roads were perfectly flat, the suspension system wouldn’t be necessary. But even a short drive around the Front Range shows you are roads are rarely straight. Instead, they curve and wind. And from years of wear and tear, you’ll find bumps, potholes, and other irregularities that can make each venture away from home more challenging than the last.
Whenever you hit these irregularities with your car, the wheels take the brunt of the impact. They move up and down, readjusting based on road conditions. If they didn’t adjust and move, the force would have a direct impact on the frame of your car. If you’ve ever been in an auto accident, you know that’s not a good thing.
The suspension system is designed to take this energy and absorb it before it impacts the rest of your car. It leaves the frame, the body, even the passengers safe and secure … if the suspension system is doing its job.
When cars are built, they are designed with two dynamics in mind:
Ride – how well the car handles on a bumpy road
Handling – how well a car accelerates, corners, and brakes
Of course, safety is always the number one factor. If a car is built that won’t keep passengers safe, what’s the point?
Which means occasionally, you might notice your ride and handling failing. They aren’t performing as they did when your car was younger. Here are six signs to watch for; experience any of these, and you know it’s time for suspension repair.
1. When a car ride’s roughly
In most cases, when you ride in your car, you enjoy the ride. When the suspension system starts failing, you start to notice every bump and curve. As you move over a bump, or slow for a dip in the road, your car “bumps” right along with it. You notice a “bouncing” action as the car continues through the bump in the road.
This is a sign your suspension system is failing. A rough ride is a sign your car is in need of suspension repair.
2. When a car drifts or pulls
When a suspension system is failing, it often develops a drift or a pull. As you’re driving down the road, do you feel like you need a tighter grip on the steering wheel because your car always drifts either right or left? That’s a sign the suspension is failing.
The suspension system is designed to keep the car stable at all times; that includes moving forward and staying in your lane. As you maneuver around corners and curves, it’s the suspension system that keeps your car grounded, and prevents it from rolling over.
When you start to notice your car pulling or drifting as you drive, it’s time to schedule an appointment for suspension repair.
3. When a car nose-dives when stopping
As your suspension system continues to wear, you’ll notice it as you are stopping. When you come to a stop, does the front of your car dive down as you apply pressure to the brakes? That’s your suspension system failing.
As the suspension system wears out, it decreases the ability to stop. By some estimates, you’ll need several seconds more for your car to stop. That impacts the safety of everyone in your car.
4. When a car’s tires are impacted
Next time you’re about to head out, spend a few minutes walking around your car, and look at the tires. If your car is operating the way it should, you’ll see even wear on the tread. If you notice unevenness, or bald spots in some areas while it looks less worn in others, it’s a sign your suspension system isn’t working the way it should.
It’s important to ensure your tires are always filled at proper levels. If your suspension system is operating correctly, it will put even amounts of pressure on all four tires as it moves you from point A to point B. Unevenness is a sign that your suspension system isn’t working the way it should.
5. When a car has oily shocks
If you know what you are looking for, you can look under your car and inspect the shocks or struts. If they are working properly, they won’t have an oily glean to them. If they are damaged in any way, you’ll see the appearance of fluid leaking from within. This is a sign of failure, and a notice to you that it’s time for suspension repair.
6. When you fail the bounce test
There’s an easy test to determine if your car suspension is failing. With your car in park, press down on the hood of your car and release. Does the vehicle bounce more than once or twice? Do the same in the back. Do you get the same results?
A worn out suspension system will have a lot of give. You’ll have a car that isn’t safe for you or your passengers. You’ll know it’s time to bring your car in.
The actual repair job depends on your car’s make and model. Different cars need different parts and service.
Yet it’s important to remember that it’s not just the parts that need replacing; a reputable mechanic will look at the overall condition of the vehicle too. If your suspension system has been failing for a number of weeks or months, more damage could have occurred, increasing the costs of making the repairs. That’s why it’s a good idea to get in quickly, the minute you suspect you have a problem. It can be the difference between a simple or a costly repair.
Think you have a suspension problem? Looking for a reputable mechanic to get your questions answered? Give us a call today. We can help you with your suspension repair and get you back on the road today.