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Common Suspension Failures: Breakdowns, Damage And Solutions!

The suspension is responsible for providing your car with a smooth ride. Can you imagine what the early pioneers of motorsport must have felt as they drove over all the bumps and crannies in the road? Today, we hardly notice a crack or small bumps thanks to the high quality design and engineering of our shocks and springs. But it never hurts to be cautious and know the signs of common suspension failures .

Suspension is about more than just keeping you from being pushed around in the driver’s seat. Did you know that this system also helps keep the wheels in contact with the asphalt, improving traction? This can mean an increase in braking distance of up to 20% if the system is worn or broken.

Common Suspension Signs and Failures

At the heart of the suspension are the shock absorbers and, as the name suggests, this part is designed to withstand the different impacts that the vehicle suffers on a daily basis. Therefore, it is prone to wear and tear as these bumps, bumps and jolts accumulate over time. What are some of the biggest signs that you need to give your suspension a little more TLC?

1- Pulling to the side

If your car seems to drift to the left or right when on the road, this is due to a problem with the way your wheels are tracking on the surface. Possible culprits are the steering system, wheel alignment, tires, or suspension. If the reason is the latter, it could be a failure of the anti-roll bar , which helps keep the car stable against the force of cornering.

The first thing to do is check the tires and wheel alignment. If both seem to work correctly then it could be the address. However, if you don’t hear any strange noises or notice problems behind the wheel, such as using more effort to steer the car, then the shock absorbers are likely to be the cause. Check the system for damage, scuffs, and dings, and have it looked at by a professional mechanic.

2- Driving rougher than normal

As we have already said, the shocks are designed to withstand the bad conditions of the road . A good suspension works so well it’s not even noticeable in-game, so when those shocks start to fail, you’ll start to feel every bump you hit.

There is a small test that you can perform without any prior mechanical knowledge to test your shocks and struts, the main components of your suspension. Just give the front of the hood a little push down and see how many bounces it takes for the vehicle to return to its normal, stable position. If you see more than 3 oscillations, have the system checked by a professional.

3- Unbalanced car

Is there something wrong with the posture of your car when it is parked on level ground? Check that the tires are fully inflated and if they are, is the problem still present? If you notice a drop into a corner, it’s very likely that the shock responsible for holding that wheel is giving way and is nearing the end of its life.

You can do a little high-level investigative work yourself by putting pressure on the offensive corner and listening for some crunch sounds. Fluid spills that correspond to this area of ​​the car are also a major sign of a problem.

4- Hits and falls

Have you noticed any erratic behavior when applying the brakes? As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, the suspension is responsible for keeping your car level with the road . Because braking causes a massive shift in weight and momentum to the front of the vehicle, if the shocks aren’t up to scratch, this sudden transfer will cause them to sag more than normal.

If the rear shocks don’t work as expected, you may experience a reverse effect when you accelerate: the car jerks backwards when you step on the pedal.

5- Problems with turning and steering

Does the car seem to perform strangely when cornering? If the steering wheel slips in your hands when turning, or you have to exert more effort than usual, this could be due to problems with the power steering or suspension failure .

Power steering problems are often characterized by fluid leaking under the car, so if there are no signs of a problem with this system, then it’s worth having your suspension checked by a professional.

6- Uneven tires

This is another issue that can be caused by wheel alignment, steering, or even brake issues. If you’re sure all of these systems are working properly, one of the first signs of suspension failure will manifest itself in uneven tire wear.

When the suspension fails, this means that more pressure will be put on the corresponding wheel, eroding the tire’s tread more quickly than a wheel with a properly functioning shock absorber.

7- Damaged and oily shock absorbers

If you need an undeniable signal that can’t be misinterpreted, take a look at your shocks . A damaged and oily appearance means there is clear trouble when it comes to the condition of your suspension. See a service center or a professional mechanic soon.

Replacing the shock absorbers themselves

So if you have identified a problem with your suspension. If you’ve developed a modicum of mechanical knowledge over the years, you can always go ahead and replace the shocks yourself.

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