A vehicle suspension system connects your wheels to your vehicle, controls your handling, and delivers a smooth ride as you drive. Every time you hit a pothole, a bump, or an object in the road, your suspension system has to absorb the impact and maintain control. Your suspension is critical for proper steering, stopping, and stability.
Suspension System Components
First, there are the springs that hold the weight of your sedan. There are several varieties of springs. Springs are obviously heavy-duty parts that rarely break or wear out. Shock absorbers work in conjunction with springs to smooth out the ride and help keep the tires on the road. Good shocks are essential for handling performance and ride comfort.
You’ve probably heard of struts. They combine a shock absorber and a coil spring in one unit. Shocks and struts will wear out over time. If your tires develop a cupped wear pattern, your shocks or struts may be wearing out. This is from the shocks bouncing unevenly. You may notice a floaty or drifting sensation when cornering. If the front of your sedan dives excessively when stopping, or rocks back and forth after you’ve stopped, your shocks may be worn out. And if they are leaking fluid, it’s definitely time to replace them at All Pro Servicenter.
Your suspension has a lot of joints and pivot points that allow your wheels to move up and down over bumps and turn as you steer. These parts include ball joints, tie rod ends, the pitman, idler arms, and the control arm bushing. These important parts wear out over time and must be replaced to keep your car driving smoothly and safely.
When a joint or other part is worn, the suspension parts don’t fit together as tightly as they should. Handling and steering have a loose feel, and you may hear strange noises. This will also cause your tires to wear unevenly. A loose joint has the effect of stressing other suspension components, so they wear out faster than they should.
Suspension System Inspection & Service
When your service advisor at All Pro Servicenter inspects your vehicle, they’ll look for signs of suspension problems. This includes things like uneven tire wear, excessive play in suspension components, and other visible damage.
It’s important to take care of these problems right away before they become more expensive to repair.
When you replace your shocks, it’s usually a good idea to replace all four at the same time. That will give you more even handling. Talk with your All Pro Servicenter technician because you don’t want a big difference between the performance of your shocks from wheel to wheel, and replacing all may be the safest bet.
There are different grades of shocks and struts. You always want to use a replacement shock or strut that equals the one that came as original equipment when your sedan was new. But remember, they were designed to meet the expected needs of the broad range of people who buy that particular vehicle. Your needs may be more specialized.
For example, if you want increased handling performance, your All Pro Servicenter advisor can recommend an upgraded shock or strut specially designed for improved handling. If you haul heavy loads or trailers, we can recommend some heavy-duty shock absorbers.
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Suspension System Frequently Asked Questions
What is a car suspension?
In a nutshell, your car’s suspension is a protective system of tires, tire air, springs, shock absorbers, and linkages that connect your vehicle to its wheels to support vehicle handling and ride quality.
What are common suspension system problems? How do I know if something is wrong with my car's suspension?
Common signs that your car needs suspension system service include frequently bumpy car rides, your car pulling to one side when turning, difficulty steering your vehicle, and more.
How often should vehicle suspension systems be inspected?
A good rule of thumb for how often to get your suspension system inspected is once a year or about every 15,000 miles (or at your next alignment appointment). Even if you’re not experiencing suspension system problems, it is still important to have routine suspension system inspections completed to avoid vehicle damage and costly car repairs.