Why Is Your Car's Suspension So Important?

Your car's suspension system is responsible for smoothing out the ride and keeping the car in control. Specifically, the suspension system maximizes the friction between the tires and the road to provide steering stability and good handling. The suspension system also provides comfort for passengers to limiting the impact of particular road conditions to not only the car, but the passengers riding inside. If your vehicle is in need of suspension repair services, contact Peterborough’s The Alignment Centre today.

The suspension system is made up of several components, including the chassis, which holds the cab of the car. The springs support the vehicle weight and absorb and reduce excess energy from road shocks, along with the shock absorbers and struts. Finally, the anti-sway bar shifts the movement of the wheels and stabilizes the car.

Your car's suspension system must be in good condition. Worn suspension components may reduce the stability of the vehicle and reduce driver control, as well as accelerate wear on other suspension system components.

Replacing worn or inadequate shocks and struts will help maintain good ride control, as they:

  • Control spring and suspension movement

  • Provide consistent handling and braking

  • Prevent premature tire wear

  • Help keep the tires in contact with the road

  • Maintain dynamic wheel alignment

  • Control vehicle bounce, roll, sway, drive, and acceleration squat

  • Reduce wear on other vehicle systems

  • Promote even and balanced tire and brake wear

To keep your car's suspension system in optimal shape, bring your car to The Alignment Centre of Peterborough.

Springs

Every car and truck today has some sort of mechanism to absorb large bumps, and this always includes some form of spring, a metal part that bends in response to force. Springs can sometimes break when the vehicle hits a bump very hard, and many will sag eventually (after many years), but in general these parts are much less prone to failure than most other suspension components.

Shock absorbers and struts

While springs absorb the bumps, shock absorbers (or, in cars that have them, struts, which are similar to shocks) dampen the motion of the springs after a bump, keeping the vehicle from bouncing excessively.

Shocks and struts are filled with a thick oil, and over time the oil can leak out, causing the shock or strut to fail. Impacts and accidents can also cause leakage or can damage delicate internal parts.

Linkages

Every suspension includes various rods and other connecting pieces that collectively keep the wheels where they’re supposed to be, relative to the rest of the vehicle. Most of these linkages are solid metal parts that rarely fail, except in major accidents. However, sometimes linkages and associated bushings are sold together, and the failure of a bushing can necessitate replacing the whole assembly.

Bushings, Bearings, and Joints

Because most parts of any suspension must be movable, the various linkages are connected by flexible connections. These include bushings and bearings, which are connections that allow a small amount of twisting or sliding, often without needing lubrication, and joints, which in automotive applications often use a lubricant such as grease to allow for controlled movement.


Some suspension bushings are made of rubber, which can become brittle or break over time, leading to failure. Many joints tend to wear out, leading initially to looseness and eventually to failure. A couple of the most common culprits are tie rod ends, which are lubricated joints that connects certain steering linkage parts, ball joints, which are found in both the steering system and attached to the control arms, and the bushings that separate the control arms from the vehicle’s frame.

Steering System — All Types

Every steering system contains numerous linkages, some joints such as the tie rod ends mentioned above, and some sort of steering box, the mechanical device that converts the rotation of the steering wheel into movement of the car’s wheels.


In general, linkages aren’t very likely to fail, while components such as tie rod ends are. Steering boxes wear out eventually, with rack-and-pinion steering systems in vehicles equipped with hydraulic power steering being the most failure prone.

Hydraulic Power Steering

Many vehicles are equipped with power steering. Of the two types of power steering, hydraulic systems (i.e., those that use a high-pressure fluid to help the driver turn the wheels) are more failure-prone. Fluid can leak from high-pressure lines, delicate valves occasionally wear out, the belt that drives the power steering pump can loosen or break, and eventually the pump itself may fail.

Electric Power Steering

More and more power steering systems found in modern cars and trucks are electric, not hydraulic. Electric power steering systems include various sensors, wires, and actuators (motors), any of which can fail, but luckily such failures are less common than failures of hydraulic components.

That’s a lot of parts, but it can be simplified into the following rule of thumb: softer parts wear out more quickly than harder ones, and wet ones more than dry ones. Thus, for example, a soft rubber bushing that has to change shape with every bump will probably need replacement (from wear or complete failure) before a solid metal rod will, and a shock absorber that contains fluid is more likely to fail than a metal spring.

LOCATION

The Alignment Centre

727 The Kingsway

Peterborough, ON

K9J 6W7

PHONE: 705-745-1331

HOURS

SERVICE AREA

Peterborough

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