5 warning signs your suspension needs repairing
31 January 2019
/ Lindleys Autocentres
Your car’s suspension is compiled with components that work together to support your vehicle’s weight whilst absorbing the pressure on various road surfaces.
The purpose of a suspension system is to stabilize and allow you to maintain control of the vehicle. Along with accommodating comfort for passengers, the suspension absorbs the energy and reduces the harsh impact of rough road conditions.
To sustain optimum performance your suspension system must stay in good condition. When components start to become worn-out, there is an increased chance of a negative knock-on-effect on other areas of your vehicle.
In this article, we cover the key indicators of a bad suspension that is in need of a repair or replacement.
Rough and bumpy car rides
A key indicator that your suspension needs replacing is when you begin to feel every small bump and dip in the road. Your vehicle will start to bounce and react uncontrollably to the road surfaces - preventing you from driving smoothly. However, keep in mind that it is normal to experience slight bounces as you drive, especially as you go over pothole and speed bumps.
To test to see whether your suspension is worn out, you can do a “bounce test”. This is where you push your weight down on the front end of the vehicle a couple of times (when parked). If the car bounces up and down more than 3 times as you release your pressure, there is a high possibility that the shocks and struts need to be replaced. Failing to do so may result in major complications for your car if they completely fail.
Difficulties with steering
When it comes to steering ability, there are many factors that could be affecting its functionality. One thing that isn't always considered is that there is a chance that your suspension is playing a part in your steering difficulty. If you begin to notice your car is harder to steer, even at a low speed, we recommend you get your vehicle checked by a mechanic at your local garage.
Your vehicle sits low or dips forward
Your suspension’s shock absorbers help your vehicle maintain a neutral position, even when stopping at high speeds. Therefore, whenever you break, a well-maintained suspension will prevent your vehicle from excessively dipping forward (nose diving).
If you notice your car dips forward whenever you stop your vehicle firmly, there's a likelihood that your suspension is worn out. This may not seem like a huge concern to some, however, if this is endured for a prolonged period of time, it can increase your stopping distance by 15% or more. In rainy or icy conditions this can be dangerous since stopping distances are already increased and in icy conditions, they are ten times greater.
Pay attention to whether your car dips lower on one side then it does on the other when parked up. If your tyre pressure is in good condition, the dips can be a sign of a bad suspension.
Drifting as you take corners
If you feel your car drifting on one side whenever you make a turn, the likeliness of there being an issue with your suspension system is high. When unintentional drifting occurs, you can easily lose control of your vehicle and cause accidents. We strongly urge that you take your vehicle in for servicing as soon as you experience this. Leaving it too late could result in you failing to turn at high speeds and increase the risk of a rollover.
Oily shocks and struts
Like with most things, it is important that you do regular checks on your car to ensure that everything is maintained and not damaged. Every now and then, you should check your shock absorbers, especially if you are noticing some of the signs mentioned above. What you are looking out for is an excessive amount of oily fluid. If there is leaking fluid present around your shock absorbers, it is a clear sign of a failing suspension.
To get the most out of your driving experience and stay safe on the road, your car’s suspension system must be in a good condition. Noticing issues with your suspension can be clear but diagnosing what is causing the problems can be complicated. Being on top of regular car servicing and suspension checks will help you keep your car roadworthy and increase the road life of your vehicle.