Street Survival - Advanced Defensive Driving

MAINTENANCE > ROADWORTHY > SUSPENSION

Suspension

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The main purpose of the suspension is to ensure safe contact between the wheel and the road. Additionally it also controls the weight distribution of the vehicle when exposed to forces in the 3 axis of direction; longitudinal, lateral and vertical.

Poor suspension will result in the following:

  • Bouncing wheels.

  • Increase in braking distance.

  • ABS and ESP no longer working effectively.

  • Excessive body tilt during acceleration or braking.

  • Excessive body roll during cornering.

Because the degradation of the suspension takes place gradually, it is often difficult to detect until too late.

It is best for a professional to check the suspension, however there are certain signs that a vehicle owner can look out for.

Questions:

Maintenance Roadworthy Suspension

Stationary

  • Uneven tire tread wear pattern, especially flat spots.

  • Oil leaks on shock absorber.

  • Worn or torn dust boot.

  • Loose, worn, cracked, broken, or corroded spring.

  • Push down hard on each corner of the vehicle and release.        The vehicle should return to its normal position and stop.          If it continues to bounce up and down then it needs professional assessment.

  • Securely use a jack to lift each wheel off the ground.                    Shimmy or shake the tire back and forth. If there is excessive play:

  •       9 - 3 o'clock: Likely inner/outer tie rods.

  •       12 - 6 o'clock: Likely worn ball joint. 

Driving

  • Unusual noises such as clanking or knocking when driving over bumps.

  • Constant correction or force on the steering wheel to keep the vehicle traveling straight.

Questions about car suspension

  • What is a car suspension and what does it do? A car suspension is a system of components that work together to keep the vehicle's body stable and absorb shocks and vibrations from the road. The main components of a car suspension are springs, shock absorbers, struts, and control arms.

  • What are the main types of car suspensions and how do they differ? The main types of car suspensions are independent suspension and solid axle suspension. Independent suspension allows each wheel to move independently, while solid axle suspension connects the wheels on each side of the vehicle and allows them to move together.

  • How does a suspension system work to absorb shocks and vibrations? A suspension system works by using springs to absorb shocks and vibrations, and shock absorbers or struts to control the motion of the springs. The springs compress and expand in response to road irregularities, while the shock absorbers or struts dampen the spring motion to prevent bouncing.

  • What are the most common problems with car suspensions and how can they be fixed? The most common problems with car suspensions are worn or damaged shocks, struts, and springs. These components can be replaced to restore the suspension's performance. Other common issues include worn bushings, ball joints, and tie rod ends, which can also be replaced.

  • What are the signs of a failing suspension system and when should it be replaced? Signs of a failing suspension system include excessive bouncing or swaying while driving, uneven tire wear, a bumpy ride, and a feeling of the vehicle being unstable or difficult to control. A suspension system should be replaced when it is no longer able to provide a smooth and stable ride.

  • How often should a car's suspension be inspected and serviced? A car's suspension should be inspected and serviced at regular intervals, such as every 30,000 to 50,000 miles. However, if any signs of problems are noticed, the suspension should be inspected and serviced as soon as possible.

  • What factors should be considered when selecting a suspension system upgrade for a car? Factors that should be considered when selecting a suspension system upgrade include the vehicle's weight and center of gravity, the intended use of the vehicle (e.g. street driving, off-road driving, racing), and the driver's personal preferences for ride comfort and handling.

  • How does the weight distribution of a car affect its suspension system? The weight distribution of a car affects its suspension system by affecting the load on each wheel. A car with a heavier front end will put more load on the front suspension, while a car with a heavier rear end will put more load on the rear suspension. This can affect the balance and handling of the vehicle.

  • How does a car's suspension system affect its handling and performance? A car's suspension system can have a significant impact on its handling and performance. A well-designed and properly tuned suspension system can improve the vehicle's cornering ability, reduce body roll, and provide a smoother and more stable ride.

  • What are the benefits of having a good suspension system in a car, especially for off-road or high-performance driving? The benefits of having a good suspension system in a car include improved handling, better stability, reduced body roll, and improved ride comfort. This is especially important for off-road or high-performance driving, where the suspension must be able to handle rough terrain or high speeds without compromising safety or performance.

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Street Survival - Advanced Defensive Driving