Your car or truck’s suspension system is an intricate network of parts designed to give you a smooth, stable ride. Since the suspension is where most road abuse occurs, the parts can wear out, rust, and sometimes break. If your vehicle doesn’t seem to ride like it used to, a suspension problem may be the issue.
Here is a rundown of the most common questions our customers have about auto suspensions:
- What is auto suspension and how does it work?
- How long do auto suspensions typically last?
- How do I know if my auto suspension system needs to be repaired or changed?
What is auto suspension and how does it work?
Like your brake system, your auto suspension is also a system of connected parts. The exact components and the way they work together can vary from vehicle to vehicle. Yours may work using a double wishbone, trailing arm, or rigid axle suspension, for example. The most common parts in a suspension system are springs, shock absorbers/dampers, struts, anti-sway bars, and multiple types of joints, such as ball joints.
Working together, the different parts in your suspension have 2 important functions:
a) They ensure the right amount of friction between your tires and the road – this keeps you in control of your vehicle and steering. (To understand how important this is, imagine not being in control when you stop, turn, or hit a bump!)
b) Suspension systems also absorb the shock of bumps and imperfections along the way, so you and your passengers enjoy a smoother ride.
A third function that’s often overlooked is the impact that auto suspension has on your tires. A well-maintained suspension system reduces wear and tear on your tires. Not only does this contribute further to a smoother, more stable ride. It also improves your fuel efficiency and the lifespan of your tires.
How long do auto suspensions typically last?
It is commonly touted that auto suspension system can last between 80,000 and 140,000 km on the road. But their exact lifespan depends on many of the same factors that impact your tires.
Whether you use OE (original equipment) recommended by your vehicle manufacturer is one such factor. Another important factor is your driving style. If you tend to subject your vehicle to frequent shocks or rough road conditions, this can age your system more quickly.
Like all other systems in your vehicle, regular inspections by a trained professional are key. They ensure your vehicle is receiving the attention and care of an experienced set of eyes and hands. And they allow you to spot and repair worn out parts before too much damage is done to the overall system.
How do I know if my auto suspension system needs to be repaired or changed?
Regular inspections are the most effective way to stay on top of your vehicle’s service needs. With so many parts making up your suspension, even one worn out or faulty piece can impact the whole system. At Sullivan Automotive, we recommend inspecting your suspension every year. This can be done at the same time as your annual tire alignment or seasonal tire changeover. Our goal is always to spot and repair any issues before they become too costly or dangerous.
While we recommend annual inspections at a minimum, there may be instances where you need to bring your vehicle in sooner. Here are some common warning signs to look out for:
- Your ride feels bumpier than usual.
- Your vehicle pulls to one side when in motion or jerks forward when you brake.
- Your tires start wearing out unevenly or more quickly than you’d expected.
- A part of your vehicle (or the whole frame) seems to be sitting closer to the ground than usual.
- It feels more difficult to steer, even when you’re not moving fast.
Even if you don’t experience any of the warning signs above, there’s one other situation that warrants an inspection – meeting with an accident. If your vehicle is involved in any sort of collision, it’s vital you have the suspension checked for damages. This small proactive step can save you a lot of worry. And it can potentially save you from costly repairs down the road.
At Your Service
It may seem daunting to try and diagnose suspension problems on your own. But that’s why we’re here. If you need to bring your vehicle in for an inspection, we’re here to help and answer any questions you have.
Our technicians have experience with a variety of suspension systems. They’ll be able to inspect your vehicle, offer expert guidance, and take care of any repairs or replacements that may be necessary. Our goal is to get your vehicle back out on the road safely and as quickly as possible.