Every system in your vehicle serves an important purpose and needs to be maintained to continue working as it should; the suspension system is no different. However, it’s often easy to overlook the suspension—at least until there’s an obvious problem.
What Does the Suspension System Do?
The suspension system is vital for maintaining control of your vehicle and ensuring a smooth, comfortable ride. It does this by maximizing the contact your tires have with the road—which maximizes the friction between the tire tread and the road. This ensures good traction, steering stability, and optimal handling. The suspension system also helps absorb the energy from bumps and other imperfections in the road, allowing the body and the frame to stay stabilized while accelerating, cornering, and braking.
In addition, the suspension system aids with braking. If your shocks and struts are worn, it can increase your stopping distance, especially if you’re driving on slick roads. This is because worn shocks often cause the front of vehicles to “nosedive”—increasing the distance it takes to come to a complete stop. Worn suspension components can also cause premature wear on the brakes.
The suspension system is comprised of several components, including the chassis, struts, shocks, ball joints, springs, and the anti-sway bar. Worn shocks and struts can not only reduce the stability of your vehicle but also accelerate wear on the other suspension components—so shock and strut replacement are essential for a well-maintained suspension system.
Common Signs Your Suspension System Needs to be Serviced or Repaired
Driving over bumps, potholes, and other rough road surfaces can its toll on your suspension over time; hitting curbs or getting into a collision can damage the suspension as well. Here are some signs your suspension system needs to be serviced or repaired:
- - A rough, bumpy ride
- - Difficulty steering
- - Your vehicle pulls or drifts while turning a corner
- - The front end of your car dives or dips when you brake
- - The back end of your car “squats” when you accelerate
- - Creaking, rattling, grunting, or knocking noises
- - Uneven tire wear
- - Oil on the shocks or struts
- - Your vehicle feels unstable at higher speeds
If you’ve noticed any of these signs, you can do a simple test at home to check the suspension. Push down on the front of your car a few times so it begins to bounce or rock, then let go. It should bounce a couple of times and then stop. If it keeps bouncing for longer, your suspension is likely worn. You can also do this test on the rear of your vehicle.
Get a Smoother Ride at RPM Automotive Services
If you’ve been experiencing uncomfortable rides, poor handling, or other signs of suspension issues, schedule an appointment at RPM Automotive Services. As an ASE- and ASCCA-certified repair shop, you can trust your vehicle is in expert hands. We work on most makes and models, and we offer a free shuttle service and loaner vehicles to make your auto care as convenient as possible. Call us today at (707) 800-4586 or request an appointment online.