Any good mechanic will tell you how important your suspension is to the safe and smooth handling of your car. The suspension is an integral system that’s responsible for ensuring your vehicle’s wheels and tyres are making full contact with the road surface at all times. The suspension all helps to ensure the smoothest possible ride.
It’s important to understand your suspension system and know how to recognise the signs when the system isn’t quite right.
To help you, here are five signs that your suspension may need some repairs or that you may require a car service.
- Vehicle pulls to one side
One of the major signs of suspension problems is your vehicle pulling to one side. This will affect your control of the vehicle and can increase driver fatigue as you need to fight with the steering wheel just to keep the car in a straight line.
Pulling to the side can happen for a few reasons. One reason is poor wheel alignment. If your wheels are not aligned properly, your vehicle will have a steering bias in one direction. Misaligned wheels can also lead to further problems such as uneven tyre wear and unresponsive brakes. Other reasons include uneven tyre pressure and faulty brake calipers.
However, worn or damaged suspension components is another common cause of your car pulling to the side.
- A corner of the car is low
The height of your vehicle body should be level across all corners. If you notice one corner sitting lower than the others, it might be due to overcompressed springs in your suspension. This often occurs when a spring in one corner can’t handle the weight that is put on top of it.
To test for spring problems, you can also push down on the rear end of your vehicle and then release. If you hear unusual sounds like squeaking or creaking, there’s a good chance that your suspension is in need of repair.
If your vehicle is not level or if you hear strange noises from your suspension system, visit your local car service centre and consult a mechanic. It’s best to fix the problem before it gets any worse.
- Feeling bumpy
If your ride is feeling bumpier than usual it could be a sign of a damaged suspension system.
Your suspension’s shock absorbers ensure that your tyres are making contact with the road surface as much as possible. When the shockers start to wear out, they won’t be able to keep your tyres in such smooth contact with the road. This will cause your vehicle to ‘bounce’, leading to a very bumpy driving experience.
If still you’re not sure what the source of the issue is, you can try a bounce test. This is where you put your weight on the front end of your parked car and release. Pay attention to how your vehicle bounces. If your suspension is working fine, your car should lightly bounce and then immediately return to its level height. If your vehicle bounces back and forth multiple times, your suspension might need a mechanic’s attention.
- Nose-diving or squatting
It’s also good to observe how your vehicle reacts to each action that you take. If your vehicle ‘nose-dives’ when you brake or if it ‘squats’ back when you accelerate, you might have a faulty suspension system. The shocks and struts of your suspension absorbs any momentum created by braking or accelerating. If these parts aren’t working properly, it won’t be able to absorb all of the force created by your vehicle, causing your car to lean forward or rear backwards.
Keep in mind that, in extreme cases, ‘nose-diving’ and ‘squatting’ can occur to vehicles with a healthy suspension system. If your vehicle is doing these things during normal driving scenarios, then it becomes a concern.
- Difficulty when steering
Finally, if your vehicle is suddenly difficult to steer, something might be wrong with your suspension and steering system. If you’re finding it hard to steer your vehicle at low speeds, this is a clear indication that something isn’t quite right with your suspension.
Difficulty steering usually stems from worn control arm bushings, loose power steering belt or low power steering fluid.
Both the steering and suspension systems are complex mechanisms for someone who’s not familiar with the inner workings of a car. As a result, it’s important to see a professional mechanic when you’re experiencing such issues while driving. To ensure your own safety on the road, consult a mechanic as soon as you notice these signs. It will also ensure that your driving experience is as smooth and enjoyable as possible.