A healthy suspension system is crucial to ensure your vehicle drives comfortably and safely — but what is the suspension exactly? What does it do, and how do you know if it’s not operating properly? Read on to learn about the suspension system’s role in your car’s wellbeing and how to tell if it needs repair.
What does the suspension do?
The suspension system in your vehicle is designed to do two things for your ride: make it comfortable, and make it safe.
The suspension system makes your car rides more comfortable by maintaining the ride height of the vehicle as it drives over bumps and dips in the road. It does this using springs, shocks, and struts to allow only the wheels to raise or lower. With the wheels absorbing all of the up and down movement, the suspension keeps your ride feeling smooth.
The suspension isn’t all about comfort, however — it also plays a pivotal role in ride safety. The suspension keeps all four wheels on the ground at all times, ensuring adequate braking power. It also keeps your vehicle upright and in control during cornering — particularly at high speeds — by shifting the vehicle’s center of gravity.
What are the signs you need suspension repair?
If you ever encounter these signs of suspension trouble, make an appointment to have it repaired as soon as possible.
One corner of the car is low.
If all of your tires are properly inflated, yet it appears that one corner of the car is lower than the others, it is safe to assume the strut or shock has failed and collapsed on itself.
There’s oil on the struts.
Struts use a special liquid to help absorb the road’s bumps. If your ride seems more rigid than usual, rub your hand on the struts and see if you detect any oil on them, as this is a sure sign they’ve failed.
You experience a rollover sensation while cornering.
You know that feeling you get in your stomach when you’re on a roller coaster? If you experience that while rounding a corner in your vehicle, there’s a chance the anti-sway bar has failed. This is very dangerous and should be addressed right away.
Your car doesn’t pass the “bounce test.”
If you suspect suspension trouble, you can perform a quick “bounce test” that will reveal suspension issues. Push on the hood or trunk of your car to get it bouncing. Once you stop pushing, the car should return to its normal ride height in about 3-4 bounces. Any more bounces than that, and you can be sure there’s a suspension issue.