Common Automobile Suspension Issues

How does the suspension system work?

Suspension system design varies between vehicles, but the basic function is to keep the tire in contact with the road at the correct angle while absorbing bumps and road imperfections. Commonly used components include: ball joints (which allow components to rotate and change angle), springs, shock absorbers or dampers (that limit the rebound of the springs), rubber bushings (that absorb shocks while allowing some movement), and sway bars with their linkages, (that limit the amount of vehicle roll during cornering).

How can the suspension system fail?

The lining that keeps ball joints tight wears out over time, or can be damaged by frequent rough road use. Rubber bushings also wear out over time. The valves inside shock absorbers or dampers flex constantly as the vehicle is driven. When the valves are weakened with use, the dampers stop controlling the spring movements effectively.

Results of failure

Worn suspension components such as ball joints, rubber bushings and shock absorbers can increase road noise, reduce ride quality and affect the wheel alignment, potentially causing accelerated tire wear.

Required Service or Repairs

Suspension components should be inspected as part of a routine maintenance plan and replaced when found to be worn.

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