What Are The Signs Of Suspension Problems?
Many people don’t give their vehicle’s suspension a second thought until it starts having issues. At this point, it’s hard to ignore as suspension problems can lead to a clunking noise coupled with a bumpier, uncomfortable ride. Aside from the ride quality and the annoying sounds, suspension problems can also cause serious damage to your vehicle. In this guide, we discuss in more detail some of the common signs that you may need to replace your suspension.
If you nod your head at any of these, it’s time to bring your car to your nearest Elite Garage. Our expert technicians will thoroughly inspect your car and provide feedback with a no-obligation quote for repairs.
Suspension Parts And Components
Your car’s suspension system is a complex series of components designed to limit vibrations and undulations from the road surface. When in good working condition, it will provide you with a smooth, controlled and comfortable driving experience.
The main components include a coil spring and a shock absorber, also known as a damper. These parts work together to dampen down and cushion the vehicle by absorbing impact from the road and potholes, keeping your car stable with tyres firmly in contact with the road surface for the maximum amount of time.
This is essential otherwise your car brakes won’t effectively as worn shock absorbers can add up to 2 metres to your braking distance when travelling at 30mph? It’s vital to maintain a healthy suspension system for optimum comfort, stability and handling.
How To Tell If My Car Has Suspension Problems?
It is not always obvious when your car has suspension problems as it often happens over time. Typically, it results from worn shocks and springs but issues can also arise when you hit something at high speeds. Here are five of the most common signs that your car may have suspension problems.
A Rough And Bouncy Ride
Whilst no drive is completely smooth, modern suspension systems and shock absorbers have made it much easier to avoid a bouncy ride. If you feel every bump, rock, or hole in the road, the most likely culprit is worn-out shock absorbers. As they wear out, your car’s performance will keep dropping and it becomes more challenging to keep your car under control. A good example is when driving on a flat, paved road but it feels like you are off-road.
More Difficult To Safely Handle Your Car
Another easy way to identify suspension problems is when you struggle to steer the car, especially at low speed. This is usually indicative of a lag in the car suspension system. Remember, the steering and suspension systems are linked and if handling is difficult, the fault is typically in one of these two.
If there’s a problem with the steering, it could be due to low power steering fluid, worn or loose belts or worn-out control arm bushings among others. At this point, you might notice squealing or whining which could indicate a failing power steering pump.
Pulling To One Side or Drifting Due To Suspension Problems
Another tell-tale sign of possible suspension problems is when your car tends to pull to one side or drift. Indeed, this could be due to other reasons such as tyres, brakes, or even steering but it’s still dangerous to drive a car with limited control.
The best solution is to eliminate all the possibilities and find where a repair is due. First, check your tyre pressure as an underinflated tyre is often the root cause. Inspect your tyres and gauge their wear and tear.
If you haven’t rotated them in a while, make sure you get that done as well. There’s also a good chance that unchecked wheel alignment causes your car to drift and pull which may lead to further tyre wear and tear.
Once you’ve checked all the above without success, it may be due to a broken tie rod, spring, or control arm. If this is the case, drifting is just the beginning as you may find yourself unable to control the car.
The Car Sits Low Or Dips During Stops
Take a good look at your car and if it sits lower than usual when parked in the garage, you may have a broken spring. You can also tell there’s an issue by the clunking sound your car makes every time you go over a bump or turn.
Lurching and dipping when applying the brakes could also be from worn shocks. If you’ve felt yourself jolt forward during a normal stop, it’s time to get your vehicle’s suspension checked by the experts. This is not only unpleasant but it can also increase the time it takes for you to come to a stop which can be extremely dangerous.
Damaged Or Oily, Greasy Shocks
Your shock absorbers should be dry but if they’re greasy or oily, there may be a leak and could damage your vehicle if left untreated. If the shocks are bad, you’ll most often notice a bouncier ride since the suspension springs are doing all the work.
The Bounce Test For Suspension Problems
If you haven’t tried this yet or seen someone perform the bounce test, it’s an excellent way to check your suspension. Here’s how to do this:
- Park your car and go to the front
- Lean down on the hood with all your weight, and push down a few times to make it bounce
- Release the pressure and then watch the car
- If it bounces more than 2-3 times after you release it, you have suspension problems of some sorts
- Repeat the process on the rear of your car
Suspension Checks And Repairs At Elite Garages
It’s important to take the time to recognise symptoms of suspension problems as it could be the difference between a safe journey and a dangerous one. Most suspension issues that are left undiagnosed and untreated can easily damage other vehicle parts and greatly increase your repair bills over time.
If you experience any of these suspension problems, it’s time to contact any of our Elite Garages for a free car suspension safety check. Our trained suspension repair specialists will inspect your vehicle to identify any potential suspension problems. From there, they will provide you with a full findings report and offer a no-obligation quotation for repairs.
For more automotive news and motoring tips, read our blog and join us on social media. You can also book a service or MOT online, reserve your tyres and talk to us about suspension problems and much more.