In this brief article we are going to discuss the different suspension problems, what causes these problems and how these can be effectively solved.
Among all different systems, a vehicle’s suspension is the system that takes on the maximum amount of punishment from road bumps and potholes. It is therefore not surprising that out of all the vehicle’s components, the suspension has the least service life.
With the nature of work that a suspension is expected to perform, comes a higher probability of damages and issues.
What are the different car suspension problems? (5 Most common Issues)
The most commonly occurring suspension problems are:
- Spring Breakage:
Park your car on a nice flat surface/road and visually inspect from the front of the car, if there is any Sagging of the vehicle to one side. If it does, then this could mean a broken spring on the sagging side. This is a serious issue and it would be best to attend to this problem with the help of a trained mechanic.
- Worn out Upper and Lower control arm Bushings:
Closely inspect with proper lighting to observe whether the rubber in between and if it has started to tear or fall to pieces. If so, then it is time to replace them.
- Worn out Wheel Bearings:
Lift the vehicle on a maintenance bay and rotate each wheel by hand. While doing this, keep the other hand touching the spring. Observe to see whether the spring on any side of the vehicle vibrates excessively relative to the others whilst rotating. If there happens to be excessive vibration then it might indicate a failed wheel bearing
- Worn out Tie-rod Ball-joints:
Closely inspect with proper lighting to observe whether the “Rubber Boot” that protects the ball-joint has torn or cracked. If it is so, then it might indicate that the ball-joint is no longer protected against dust, dirt, water, etc. and that the joint inside would soon fail. At this point, it would be wise to replace the tie-rods.
- Failed Shock-Absorbers:
A “Bounce-Test” would be a good way to see if there are any potential issues with the shock-absorbers. To perform this test you need to apply your body weight on each corner of the car vertically downwards, enough to make the car bounce a bit.
Once you take your weight off the corner, for a good condition shock-absorber, the car corner should stop bouncing in a single up-down cycle. If it does happen to bounce beyond one cycle, it could mean that the shock-absorber has failed and that it might be time for replacement.
What causes suspension damage?
The main causes for suspension issues are:
- Normal wear and tear
- Multiple instances of Heavy braking or acceleration
- Higher percentage of Constant Off-roading or Potholes and Bad roads in your daily driving pattern could knock out the alignment of your suspension
- Not replacing suspension components at the intervals recommended in the car’s service Manual
- Aggressive driving Style/Pattern
Where can I get my car suspension check?
Who can fix my car’s suspension?
You can either check your suspension on your own or with the help of an experienced mechanic.
Any Auto Garage would have a mechanic who is to do a thorough inspection of your suspension. If there are any repairs identified, you could choose to get it done at the same place as well.
If you happen to be within the warranty period of your car, you could also get this done at the dealership that sold you your car.
How long does it take to replace suspension?
For replacing a set of (LH and RH) shocks it would take between 2-3 hours. The same amount of time would be required for replacing control arms on both sides.
For an entire suspension overhaul either on the front or rear suspension, it would take approximately 4-6 hours.
Can I use wd40 on my car suspension?
No, it is not advised to use oil or any petroleum-based product like WD40 on your car’s suspension. The reason being that it will cause any rubber component like a seal to swell and then disintegrate. Rubber seal deterioration would cause shock absorbers to fail.
Can I drive my car with bad suspension?
Yes, you can drive your car with a bad suspension in most cases. The only cases where it would not be safe to drive are:
- If there is a broken component like a spring, control arm or tie-rod cause your vehicle to tilt while standing
There is a risk of losing control of the vehicle while steering the vehicle as the broken component might cause the suspension to lock at a certain position.
- If your car has air suspension and the air suspension system has failed, resulting in the car sitting low.
Once the air suspension has failed, the system has lost all its air pressure and the air springs are completely deflated. So now the vehicle is riding on the bump stops. If the car is driven this way on an uneven road surface, then it could lead to body damage due to severe impacts at the bump stops.
How long do shocks last on a truck?
Most truck owner manuals suggest the average life of struts and other suspension system parts is around 70,000 miles depending on the driver and the roads.
Is a car suspension covered under warranty?
Though suspension is a wear and tear component of the car, car manufacturers, in recent years, have started providing warranty on the suspension parts. Components of the suspension such as control-arms and coil springs could develop leakages or cracks within the minimum service life declared by the manufacturer. These can now be replaced completely under the vehicle’s warranty.
Can car suspension be repaired?
Yes, a car suspension can be repaired. Mostly, this is done by removing the failed components like Shock-absorber, Bushings, Springs and control-arms and replacing them with original spares.
You could either do this by yourself, if you are trained and have the facilities, OR take the vehicle to any Auto Garage that has experience in dealing with your car’s brand.
What happens if a strut breaks while driving?
It depends if the spring is broken or the shock. Shock damage can cause a wheel to break traction with the road leading to a potentially dangerous situation. If the spring is broken, it means that stiffness of the suspension is now zero.
In this condition, the suspension at the broken corner would bottom out over bumps and hit the bump stops. This could potentially cause more damage, especially to the body mounts.
if you stay below the speed of 55mph then it should be fine to drive. It would be wise not to delay the strut replacement.
Signs of bad suspension springs
Following are the signs and symptoms of Spring damage in a vehicle suspension:
- Vehicle bottoming out
- Excessive road noise
- Vehicle leaning to one side
- Tyre damage
- Vehicle bouncing
In this brief article we have discussed the different suspension problems, what causes these problems and how these can be effectively solved.
If you have any questions or comments please let us know.