5 Signs Your Car Might Need Its Suspension Repaired
Your car’s suspension system is designed to keep your driving experience smooth and comfortable by absorbing the bumps and jolts caused by potholes and rough roads. It’s also responsible for keeping your tires in contact with the road, which gives you traction and control as you drive. It’s important to take your vehicle in for inspection as soon as you experience a problem with the suspension because a damaged system is a safety hazard and can result in an accident.
What Parts Make Up the Suspension System?
The suspension system is made up of many components, including tires, springs, shock absorbers, struts, arms, bars, linkages, bushings and joints. Together, these parts keep your vehicle stable, even when the road isn’t even. The suspension system works with the steering column to give you control of the vehicle. It also provides stability and maneuverability in emergency situations, as well as on icy roads or in inclement weather.
Any one of these parts can become damaged. They are especially susceptible to rust and punctures because they are exposed to weather and the road as you drive. Debris, road salt and ice can all cause leaks or rust buildup on the components.
5 Signs Your Suspension System Needs Maintenance
Most drivers notice a problem with their suspension system because they can suddenly feel every bump in the road. Any amount of jolting, bouncing or jarring when the car is moving can signal a problem.
These five signs can also point to an issue that would require inspection:
- Pulling or drifting: A car that pulls or drifts to the side while driving can indicate that the shocks are no longer keeping the vehicle’s body stable against the force of a turn. This issue can increase your risk of a rollover, so it’s important to take your car in to be checked as soon as possible.
- Diving or dipping: If the front of your vehicle “dives” or dips sharply toward the ground when you brake, there may be a problem with your car’s shocks. A damaged suspension can increase your car’s stop time by up to 20%.
- Uneven tire tread: If your car’s tires are wearing unevenly or have bald spots, it’s a sign that the body’s weight isn’t being distributed properly by the rods and linkages.
- Oily shocks: Leaking shocks look oily or have residue buildup. Take a look under your parked car to see if there is dark liquid or buildup on the shocks themselves.
- Failed the “bounce test”: With your car in park, push down on the front of your vehicle and “bounce” it a few times, then let go. Repeat with the back of the vehicle. If the car’s body continues to bounce several times after you’ve let go, there’s an issue with the suspension.
How to Use Maintenance Keep Your Suspension Working Properly
While your suspension doesn’t need a lot of maintenance, there are some things you can do to keep it performing properly. One of the easiest ways to maintain the system is by getting regular tire maintenance. Checking your pressure every 1,000 to 3,000 miles is a good way to make sure you aren’t driving on over- or under-inflated tires, which can cause extra wear and tear on the suspension system. You should also have your tires rotated regularly to help them wear evenly.
Keeping an eye on your car’s alignment is another important way to keep your suspension well maintained. If the alignment is off, the car’s weight will be distributed unevenly. You should have the alignment checked every two years or 30,000 miles. The shocks and struts — other key parts of your suspension system — should be inspected at least once a year or every 12,000 miles.
By taking your vehicle in for routine maintenance, you can keep your suspension system working properly and safely for the life of your vehicle. A technician will be able to identify any problems that arise, whether from damage or wear and tear, and can advise you on needed repairs or replacements. With an expert auto repair shop on your side, you’ll be able to drive in safety and comfort.
If you’re experiencing any suspension issues, make an appointment to bring your vehicle in for inspection as soon as possible. The technician will visually inspect the suspension components for leaks, cracks or damage. If something needs repair or replacement, they will walk you through next steps.
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