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Car Suspension

Car Suspension

Diagnosing the Most Common Symptoms of Car Suspension Failure

Suspension issues can be difficult to diagnose. It’s usually pretty easy to tell the symptoms, but identifying the source of the issue is another animal. Faulty or worn shocks, struts, springs, tie rods, or ball joints can wreak havoc on your vehicle and make your car or truck unsafe to drive.

Wear and tear is only an issue if you actively ignore the problem and allow your vehicle to run itself into the ground! Pay attention to how your vehicle handles and what you’re hearing—and address problems immediately as they arise.

 

1. Pulling to One Side While Driving

Underinflated Tire With Wear An underinflated tire is a common reason for your car pulling, and a problem easily fixed.
Pulling to the left or right is the most common sign of suspension problems. It can also be one of the hardest problems to diagnose without the help of a professional. Tires need to be aligned precisely for toe-in, caster, and camber. Poor alignment means uneven tire wear, annoying pulling, a constant fight with the steering wheel, and even decreased gas mileage. Your vehicle could be pulling for any number of reasons:

  • Uneven tire pressure
  • Uneven tire wear
  • Poor alignment
  • Bad tie rods or steering rack
  • Sticking brake caliper

If you blow through a pothole or climb over a curb or two, your alignment can get out of whack. Sudden changes in alignment don’t happen magically. Something broke. It could be a broken spring or control arm.

Maybe It’s Just a Tyre Issue

Sometimes fixing the problem can be as simple as inflating an underinflated tyre or by rotating the tires. Other times, it could involve a few hours in the shop and the complete replacement of key suspension components. Either way, ignoring this problem only makes things worse. It won’t fix itself.

A rough ride is a clear indicator that your shocks or struts could be worn and in need of replacement. When every bump on the road makes your car bounce, you’ve got suspension problems and need to get it checked out.

Try the bounce test—when your car is parked, put all of your weight on the front end, release it, and observe how the vehicle responds. If it bounces back and forth 3 or more times, the shocks and/or struts are worn and need replacing.

Worn Shock Absorbers Mean Big Problems for the car suspension

Shock absorbers, true to the name, are the main culprit when your car feels “bumpier” than ever. They’re designed to keep your tires on the road. When they don’t, the car will bounce all over the place. Shocks have fluid that dampens the bouncing. When they leak, their performance suffers and the absorbers will eventually fail.

Don’t Count Out a Worn Leaf Spring

Leaf springs may sometimes cause problems with excessive bouncing. You can double-check the possibility of a busted leaf spring by checking if the car or truck seems to “lean” back in a standing position. Many trucks are designed to be “nose down” to accommodate extra weight in the rear. If your pickup truck appears to sit level, it could be extra proof of an issue with a leaf spring.

Even the slightest damage from an accident can cause shocks to leak and permanently damage them beyond repair. Get it checked out.

Car With Damage to Headlight from Accident Some slight cosmetic damage from a minor accident doesn’t rule out damage to your suspension.
When your car is on level ground, but one corner sits lower than the others, you’ve likely got a damaged spring. You may notice a clunking noise when going over bumps, and cornering could be compromised because a damaged spring can’t support the weight.

The relationship between the shock and the spring is the main contributor to this problem. A blown shock may cause an over-compression of the spring and lower sitting height. A blown shock doesn’t have a direct impact on height, but it will make a car react poorly in bad road conditions.

Test Springs by Pushing Down on the boot or bonnet

The easiest way to diagnose spring problems is by pushing down on the trunk of the car or truck, releasing it, and listening to how the suspension reacts. If you hear a creaking or squealing sound, you’ve definitely got a suspension problem with the shocks, springs, bushings, or related parts.

Even the slightest loss of height in one or multiple corners of the vehicle could indicate a leak or failure in your shocks or springs. Don’t wait until your car is dragging along the highway before getting it inspected.

Shocks or struts can be in need of replacement when you notice the following related issues:

  • Your car’s “nose dives” when braking (it leans forward, and dips).
  • Your vehicle “rolls” to the side when cornering (it leans side-to-side and feels wobbly).
  • Your car “squats” during acceleration (it leans backward. The bonnet of the car lifts and the back of the car dips).

Of course, with extreme handling, you could force these things to happen in a vehicle with a brand-new suspension system (But you then will lose control of the vehicle as the suspension is not functioning properly). We’re talking about everyday driving situations.

You shouldn’t be leaning forward for a routine stop in a suburban intersection. Test your shocks

If you find steering especially difficult, especially when you’re moving slowly, something might be wrong with your suspension. Sometimes the steering may feel like it’s “slipping” when you turn the wheel or hold it in a turned position. Sometimes the steering wheel will even shudder, if this is the case any number of components in your power steering system could be a source of these issues, including:

 

  • Low-power steering fluid
  • Worn or loose power steering belt
  • Faulty power steering pump
  • Leaking power steering rack
  • Worn control arm bushings

 

If you experience any of the above issues with your car suspension please have your car checked by a professional. Book your car in at your nearest e-CAR workshop. At e-CAR, we only fit the best shocks

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Comprehensive minor and major car services.

Repairs for all car makes and models with genuine parts.

Service a fleet of cars or trucks with a fast turnaround time.

Upgrade your car with premium car accessories.

Professional servicing tailored to trucks and heavy-duty vehicles.

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