Did you know that each wheel on your car hides an elaborate mechanism that we call suspension? Most drivers won’t think much about it until unusual knocks and noises appear or the car starts pulling to one side. It is only when this happens that car owners discover a complex architecture of modern car suspension. In this article, we will examine different suspension types together with their components and learn all about potential failure points.
What does it do?
Older cars had a very simple suspension setup, which used a rigid beam with wheels at each side. Although this robust and simple solution is durable, it can’t match the ride comfort and driving characteristics of modern cars. Apart from pickup trucks with solid axles in the rear, most cars today use something we call an independent suspension. Despite the differences between manufacturers, all independent suspension systems use the same basic principles and have similar components. Behind each wheel, there is a pair of control arms that hold the wheel hub in place. A set of spring coils and dampers serves as a flexible bound between the suspension and chassis. Besides these components, front suspension has tie rods and ball joints that allow the wheels to turn left and right. In the end, most cars today have a sway bar, which reduces body roll while going through bends.
What are the most common failure points?
Suspension components live a harsh life, as they spent a lot of time absorbing hits from road bumps and potholes. This is why most of them will suffer from some form of a failure during their life. Ball joints are the most vulnerable, as they have to cope with material wear that happens because of constant movement. This results in an excessive play within the ball joint itself and causes knocking noises when going over bumps. Another common failure point are various bushings, which serve as an elastic link between suspension components. In the end, going through a deep pothole could even bend some parts out of shape.
Can I fix it myself?
Although everything is possible when there is enough will and a right tool, replacing suspension components is not an easy job. Most bolts that hold the whole assembly in one piece are extremely tight, so removing them requires various special tools. Apart from sway bar drop links, it is not likely for an average driver to be successful doing anything here. And don’t forget that after any suspension related work, the car should get a wheel alignment.
How important is this service?
As we have explained in this article, modern cars use suspension systems that are quite complex and have elaborate architecture. This is why troubleshooting and repairing is not an easy job and requires a lot of skill and experience. If you don’t have the right tools or don’t feel up to the job, consider hiring a professional. At FixMyCar, we have certified and seasoned technicians that can come to your home and solve all suspension related problems. This will ensure that all important components are checked and your car is ready to hit the road.