Car Suspension Problems
Problems with the suspension
Good suspension is essential for the road holding of your car. Without shock absorbers and springs (or air springs), the car would bounce down the road like a teenager at a techno party. Not only do you feel every pit and bump, it is also unsafe, due to the lack of control. So problems with the suspension of a car should not be ignored.
In this article we explain how a suspension works, the dangers of a malfunctioning suspension and the symptoms of malfunctioning air suspension or shock absorbers and springs. Then we will go into the cost of repair and give some tips on how to keep it as low as possible. Finally, we show you how to sell a car for scrap works if you have problems with suspension and shock absorbers.
Suspension information – Springs and shock absorbers
The function of the suspension is to absorb shocks and thus improve road holding. This increases comfort and safety on the road. You do not feel every bump and pit and the car maintains optimal contact with the road surface.
The suspension consists of shock absorbers and springs. Normally, a shock absorber and a spring are installed on each wheel. These form the connection between the body and the wheels. A shock absorber is a type of cylinder containing a piston with oil. When driving over a bump, the spring will initially reduce the shock and convert it into a spring motion.
The shock absorber then dampens this springy movement. The piston goes down and the movement of the oil and special valves with which the shock absorber is equipped absorb all movement. This keeps the wheels in contact with the road as much as possible and the rest of the car does not vibrate with the wheels.
The whole weight of the car rests on the suspension and did you know that a shock absorber springs up and down about 6000 times per kilometer? However, this is what they are made for and this system will not break easily: shock absorbers normally last about 170,000 kilometers before they break. This also depends on your driving style and where you drive it. Do you like to use thresholds as a kind of ramp? Then chances are that your suspension will last a lot less than usual.
The danger of driving with a bad suspension
Some people sometimes underestimate the importance of good suspension. They think it is childish to be bothered by a few jerks, and they don’t see the problem. Nothing could be further from the truth. Since one of the functions of the suspension is to maintain optimal contact between the wheels and the road surface, driving with a defective suspension can be quite dangerous. This is also a reason to reject the car, so you can no longer take it on the road. Having your car repaired for a long time or selling your rejected car are your only options.
The shock absorbers and suspension are more important for good road holding than, for example, winter tires. When one set does not work properly, the car will be ’tilted’ on its wheels and drive like that. This is not only very annoying, but also very dangerous! It also reduces road grip, allowing you to:
- Will have a longer braking distance;
- Will skid more easily (especially on slippery roads and when cornering);
- Will have more risk of aquaplaning.
In addition, other parts will also wear faster. This will increase the pressure on the wheelhouse, resulting in dangerous defects in this area. Tires will also wear faster if your car is not completely straight, resulting in even less grip on the road!
The symptoms of a broken suspension
What are the signs of a broken suspension for? How do you recognize a problem from the rear suspension? And what are the symptoms of a broken spring? The following symptoms indicate suspension problems. However, they can also indicate wheelhouse failure or tires that are too soft, so it’s important to check whether your car is showing any of these symptoms.
A bumpy ride
Driving a car with properly functioning suspension should feel like you are floating on the road. However, when you start to feel every pitting and you and all of your fellow passengers are bothered by their buttocks because they constantly bounce in their seats, something is not quite right. If your car is a bit older, and has more kilometers on the clock, chances are that your shock absorbers need to be replaced.
Difficult to steer
When steering is heavy, especially when driving slowly, chances are that a worn suspension is a cause. The handlebars are connected to the front suspension, so the handlebars and suspension depend on each other to function properly.
However, too little steering fluid or another power steering or steering gear problem can also be a cause of this problem. Therefore, pay close attention to other symptoms.
The car pulls to one side
When driving on a straight road and not steering, but the car tends to steer to one side, there may be a problem with one of the springs or shock absorbers. However, it could also be due to an uneven tire pressure, or a stuck brake, incorrect adjustment or a defect in the steering. This is quite dangerous, so get to your garage ASAP!
The car is tilted or too low
If you hear a noise when driving over a threshold, for example, and then notice that the car is lower on one side than on the other when it is parked, a spring is probably broken. Suppose the left rear of your car is lower than the rest: then the spring on the left rear is probably broken. You will also notice this by the wear of your tires. The tires are then used in a way for which they are not intended and you drive on a part that is not made for all those kilometers. This literally creates a trail of destruction on the tire.
If you notice this when driving, for example because the car leans too much to the left when cornering to the right, or if the car bends over when braking, the shock absorbers or springs are probably worn out. Tilting backwards when accelerating also points to the same problem, but a defect in the rear suspension.
A shock absorber can only function properly if there is enough oil in the cylinder. However, they can leak due to wear. You can check this by looking under the car at the shock absorbers. Do you see oil on the outside? Then the damper probably leaks oil and will function less and less well.
Do the suspension test
To test if the suspension of your car works as it should, you can do a test. To do this, stop the car in a parking lot and lean your full weight on the front of the car so that it goes down. Then release and see what happens. Properly functioning suspension and shock absorption should absorb the suspension and return the car to its normal condition in one go. So does the car spring up and down a few more times? Then the shock absorbers are worn out and it is time for new ones.
You can also test this per shock absorber, by doing this at every corner. This allows you to determine fairly precisely where the defect is and whether it is necessary to replace all dampers, or whether only new shock absorbers at the front, for example, are enough.
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