Your car’s suspension is a crucial to keeping you safe on the road. The suspension helps you maintain control on bumpy roads. It helps you turn corners safely. It even makes it easier to handle your car in bad weather. Needless to say that it’s important to take care of suspension repairs as soon as the need becomes obvious.
What are the most common suspension repairs? Here are the top five:
Believe it or not, your car’s wheels are considered part of the suspension. They are an integral part of keeping your car fixed to the road as you drive. For them to work correctly, they need to be aligned parallel with the car’s body.
When wheels get out of alignment, they can cause a car to drift. They can also make it harder to steer in bad weather. And of course, misaligned wheels wear out your tires prematurely. The good news is that alignment is cheap and easy to do.
Shocks and struts are the devices that guarantee you have a smooth ride. They are actually dampeners, inasmuch as they dampen the shock energy when your car hits a pothole or goes over a bump. A car with bad shocks or struts is both uncomfortable to ride in and more difficult to control.
How do you know they need to be replaced? First, you’ll feel a lot more bumps. Second, turning corners will be a bit more difficult because your car doesn’t hug the road as tightly. Finally, worn struts make a telltale clunking noise on every bump. It sounds like someone hitting the frame with a sledgehammer.
The springs are what support the chassis as it rests on top of the frame. They also offer a little extra damping ability. If you have a broken spring, you’ll notice that one corner of the car sits lower than the other three. You’ll also notice that turning a corner on that side is more difficult. Rather than the chassis remaining firmly in place, it leans into that broken spring as you turn.
The good news is that spring replacements are rare. The bad news is that they are costly. Take it easy on rough roads and you should be able to avoid broken springs.
Ball joints are the joints between each wheel and the suspension system. They are also pivot points. They absorb some of the energy generated when your car hits a bump. If one breaks, it’s serious business. You can lose a wheel or discover that your suspension is dragging on the ground.
A creaking or squeaking noise as you turn suggests that one of your ball joints is wearing out. Some cars have the uncanny characteristic of two ball joints wearing out the same rate. If you hear strange creaking and squeaking noises, have a mechanic check it out. Ball joint replacement isn’t terribly expensive prior to failure, but allow one to break and the bill could go up considerably.
The control arms are components that connect the wheels, frame, and steering. There are a lot of working parts involved here, including bushings. The most common control arm repairs are bushing replacement and actual arm replacement. If a control arm is bent, it will have to be replaced.
Some suspension repairs are more expensive than others. The one thing they all have in common is how important they are. Don’t mess around with your car’s suspension. If anything goes wrong, it could endanger your safety.