Your vehicle’s suspension system has two main jobs: to prevent the passengers from getting tossed around inside the vehicle every time it hits a bump in the road and to keep the tires firmly planted on the road around every corner and over every bump.
To see your suspension system, you’ll have to look under your vehicle. Anything that connects the wheels to the vehicle’s frame is part of the suspension system. They’re heavy-duty parts that work hard while you’re driving and take a lot of wear and tear. Because of this, you should have a professional look at them once a year as part of your preventive maintenance routine. A good time for this inspection is every time you get your alignment checked.
If your suspension is in trouble, you often feel it in how your vehicle drives. If the vehicle pulls to one side or wanders, if the steering is erratic, if your ride isn’t as smooth as it should be, or if your vehicle handles poorly, you should get your suspension system checked. Uneven tire wear can also indicate worn parts in your suspension system. If your shocks are leaking oil, then they definitely need to be replaced. All in all, if you don’t feel in control when you’re driving, go get your suspension inspected.
Shocks and struts wear out. Wheel bearings may need to be repacked every few years. Some parts of your suspension may need to be lubricated whenever you change your oil. Preventive maintenance is the key to keeping your vehicle under control. Good car care can prevent accidents.
If you are in an accident, even a minor one, it can damage your suspension system or knock your wheels out of alignment. Even hitting a curb, pothole or large rock can damage your suspension. A wheel balancing or alignment won’t correct a suspension problem, and after any suspension work, you’ll may need to get an alignment.
Never procrastinate repairs to your suspension system. A damaged suspension system can lead to loss of control of a vehicle in an emergency situation and serious accidents.
Potholes are unsightly nuisances, but they’re also a major cause of suspension damage. To avoid this, always keep your tires properly inflated. This gives the tires maximum resiliency. When you’re driving, avoid potholes if possible. If you can’t avoid one, then slow down before driving over it. Slower speeds limit pothole damage. But if you’re a little late detecting a pothole, don’t brake on top of it. This will throw the vehicle’s weight forward and increase the damage.
The suspension system may not be pretty to look at, but it provides you with a safe, comfortable ride—so long as you maintain it properly. You don’t have to show it off, but you should be proud of it.