The Guide To Everything You Need To Know About Your Car’s Suspension

The suspension is likely a part of your car you do not think about very much. It is not a car part, such as the brakes or engine, that gets a lot of attention. However, the car’s suspension is integral to the overall well-being of your vehicle. Without the suspension, your car will not run. 

The rest of this article will explain everything you need to know about your car’s suspension. With this information, you will better spot suspension problems and understand when you need to contact a professional mechanic, such as Ethan’s Honest Automotive. 

Let’s get started with our discussion of vehicle suspensions!

What Is a Car’s Suspension? 

Before getting into more detail, you need to understand exactly what a car’s suspension is and what it does. 

The suspension is an entire system in your car. It is comprised of the following elements. 

  • Wheels
  • Springs
  • Shock absorbers
  • Rods
  • Joints, bearings, and bushings
  • Frame
  • Steering system

The suspension system does much work as the car moves down a road. It keeps the tires in contact with the road surface. It absorbs bumps and reduces bouncing in your car. And it allows you to turn the car. 

Clearly, the suspension system is an extremely crucial vehicle component. It is responsible for your overall comfort as your drive your car. However, it also contributes to the car’s safety and stabilization. 

All of the components must work together intricately. Therefore, if one part has a problem, it can throw the whole system out of whack. Then, as discussed below, you will need suspension services from a qualified mechanic. 

What Are the Types of Suspensions?

Now that you know more about the basic functions of the car’s suspension, we will discuss the different types of suspension systems. 

Suspensions have been a part of car design from the beginnings of motorized vehicles in the 19th century. Yet, many of the oldest suspensions are no longer in use. Instead, there are a large number of modern suspension types. In fact, there are too many types of suspensions to name here. 

Yet, to fully understand a car’s suspension, you do not need to memorize all possible permutations of suspension parts. You just need to know the most common categories, which we list below. 

  • Independent: Independent suspension systems allow each wheel to move independently of the other wheels. Often wheels in this setup will be tied together using anti-roll bars. The anti-roll bar connects the wheels but does not combine their motion. Most independent suspensions have more parts and bushings than dependent suspension systems. 
  • Dependent: Dependent suspensions most often go by beam axle or solid axle. This suspension system laterally connects a pair of wheels with a beam or shaft. Beam axles keep the camber angle of the connected wheels the same no matter what. 

Often, full-sized trucks will have solid rear axles and independent front suspensions. Modern cars have some flavor of independent suspensions on the front and rear. 

Signs Your Suspension Has a Problem. 

Because the suspension has so many important jobs, it is easy to tell when it has a problem. You just need to know what signs to look for. 

The following signs indicate that it is time for a mechanic to look at your suspension. 

  • Pulling to one side of the road, which may occur all the time, or over bumps
  • Driving is bouncy or uncomfortable 
  • Steering is loose or difficult
  • Leaning to one sign when parked
  • Loud squeaking, clanking, or knocking 
  • Dipping (nose-diving) when braked

Common Suspension Failure Points

As you learned above, there are a lot of components to the suspension system. If any of these has an issue, it could negatively affect the suspension’s ability to function well. Don’t worry, though. While a failure could occur with any part of the suspension, certain failure points are most common. 

Keep an eye on the following suspension components, as they are the most likely to fail. 

  • Bushings
  • Springs, shocks, and 
  • Power steering
  • Ball joints
  • Control arms

In addition to the issues listed above, the accumulation of rust is another big problem with many suspension systems. Most of the suspension is located underneath the car. When you drive in wet conditions, especially on salted roads during the winter, the parts that get wet could become rusty. Anything under the vehicle will be more exposed to the weather and, therefore, more likely to rust. 

You do not want rust on your car, as it can weaken the metal and eat away at all of your suspension components. Talk to your mechanic if you notice rust on your suspension or anywhere else on your vehicle. 

When Do I Need to See a Mechanic About My Suspension? 

If you notice any of the signs in the previous section, it is time to contact a professional mechanic. They can help diagnose and fix the problem. 

However, if your suspension works well, you will still need a mechanic to perform scheduled maintenance. Following a maintenance schedule will ensure that suspension remains running well and that small problems are caught before they spiral out of control. 

Your owner’s manual will indicate the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule for your suspension components. Those recommendations will most likely be similar to the following schedule. 

  • Every oil change: Check and top off the power steering fluid
  • Every 1,000 – 3,000 miles: Check tire inflation and tread depth
  • Every 10,000 miles: Rotate tires
  • Every 15,000 – 30,000 miles: Check wheel alignment
  • Every 15,000 miles: Check all suspension components

Why Choose Ethan’s For Your Car’s Suspension Maintenance?

Ethan’s Honest Automotive is your source for excellent suspension services in the Cache Valley and Southeastern Idaho. We are renowned for our high-quality cars of both foreign and domestic vehicles. Our mechanics can work on anything. So, no matter your car, we can help you keep its suspension in perfect condition. 

Contact Ethan’s Honest Automotive today to book your next suspension service or any other type of vehicle maintenance!

Services provided by Ethan’s include:

A/C Service
Windshield Wipers/Washer Fluid
Wheel Bearings
Differential Services
Coolant Flushes
Transmission Services
Tune Ups
Brake and power steering services
Timing Belts
Tie Rods
Rack and pinion
Ball Joints
4-Wheel Drive