Vauxhall Corsa Front Suspension Issues Explained(+3 Tips)

In this brief article we are going to discuss the different Vauxhall Corsa Suspension problems, what the causes are, and Troubleshooting Tips.

Top 7 most common suspension issues in the Vauxhall Corsa? 

The most common suspension issues seen in the Vauxhall Corsa are:

  • Front Spring Failure
  • Front Shock Absorber Strut Failure
  • Rear Shock Absorber Failure
  • Front Strut Top Mount Failure
  • Front Lower Control Arm Bushing Failure
  • Front Lower Control Arm Ball-Joint Failure
  • Front/Rear Wheel Bearing Failure

What suspension does the Vauxhall Corsa have?

The ‘Opel Corsa’ was launched in the UK initially under the brandname ‘Vauxhall Nova’ in 1983. The platform was the Corsa A. Each subsequent platform was an increment in Alphabet, Corsa B,C, etc. The Vauxhall Corsa is currently based on the Corsa F platform.

Front Suspension

The Front suspension in the Vauxhall Corsa is a fairly conventional MacPherson Strut and Lower control Arm with Anti-roll bar. This arrangement is mounted onto the front subframe.

Rear Suspension

In the Vauxhall Corsa D, the rear suspension is of a Trailing Axle Torsion beam type. The axle itself twists and provides Roll-stiffness to the rear suspension, eliminating the need for a rear Anti Roll Bar.

Vauxhall Corsa Front Spring Breakage

Symptoms:

  • You would notice a sudden drop in suspension height on any one side. This can be easily verified by measuring the wheel center height from any reference on the body like the Fender edge.
  • Rattling, Squeaking, Creaking noises while driving which are louder when driving over a Bump

Troubleshooting Front Spring Breakage

  • In a majority of cases, the spring fails due to the combined effects of corrosion & fatigue over a period of time.
  • The service life of the spring depends on whether the car is used over roads that have salt or in an atmosphere where there is a lot of moisture.
  • For replacing the Spring from a strut, you need to first compress the Spring in a spring compressor. You can either use a hydraulic compressor (preferred) or a Threaded Bolt type as well.

Vauxhall Corsa Front Shock Absorber Strut Failure

Symptoms:

  • Rattling Noise going over any rough patches
  • Front end bouncier than normal
  • Changes in handling behaviour; Vehicle not feeling stable at high speed cornering

Troubleshooting Front Shock Absorber Failure

  • The Bouncy Ride symptom points to the Shock Absorber as a probable cause.
  • If your vehicle has crossed 50K miles, then it could be due for a shock replacement. Due to long-term internal wear, the shock starts becoming ineffective over time.
  • If the front strut shock has started leaking oil due to a failed oil-seal, then it means that the shock will no longer be effective.
  • One good way to tell if your shock has failed or not is to do a “Bounce Test”. Put all your weight on one of the front corners of the vehicle pushing it downwards. Keep oscillating the corner till you feel that it has reached its maximum height. Once you take your hands off the corner, observe how it settles. If it takes more than 2 oscillations to settle, that means the damper has failed.

Vauxhall Corsa Rear Shock Absorber Failure

Symptoms:

  • Knocking and Popping Noises from the Rear going over bumps
  • Rear end feels bouncier
  • Explained as seen in a Vauxhall/Opel Corsa D platform car

Troubleshooting Rear Shock Failure

  • The Bouncy Ride symptom points to the Shock Absorber as a probable cause.
  • The noises coming from the rear are partly due to the failed shock absorber allowing the bump stops to contact more often. And also the noises partly come from the worn out shock mounting bushes that allow the shock to move and hit against the mounting brackets.
  • If your vehicle has crossed 40-50K miles, then it could be due for a shock replacement. Due to long-term internal wear, the shock starts losing its damping action over time.
  • If the rear shock has started leaking oil due to a failed oil-seal, then it means that the shock will no longer be effective.
  • One good way to tell if your shock has failed or not is to do a “Bounce Test”. Put all your weight on one of the front corners of the vehicle pushing it downwards. Keep oscillating the corner till you feel that it has reached its maximum height. Once you take your hands off the corner, observe how it settles. If it takes more than 2 oscillations to settle, that means the damper has failed.
  • In the Nissan Juke, the Rear Shock Top mount can only be accessed from inside the vehicle behind the rear seats

Pro Tip

  • While fitting a new shock absorber, always, Tighten the Top mounting bolts first and then the Lower mounting bolt.
  • Also make sure that while tightening the Shock bottom bolt,  the Wheel Hub is supported at its normal ride height. For this you can either use Blocks, a screwjack or a jack stand.
  • If the shock bottom mounting bush is tightened at any other ride height, then when the car is lowered to normal ride height, the Bush will rest in a twisted condition and will have a reduced Bush service life.

Vauxhall Corsa Front Strut Top Mount Bearing Failure

Symptoms:

  • Knocking Noise while going over Rough Road Patches
  • Bumping/Knocking Noises when trying the lock steering in parking

Troubleshooting Front Strut Top Mount Bearing Failure

  • The Top Strut Mount contains a Bushing as well as a bearing that allows the strut to rotate while steering
  • Generally, when the Top Strut mount is damaged, both the bushing as well as the bearing fail and restricts the strut from rotation during steering. 
  • The bearing failure causes the knock and creak noises while locking the steering.
  • The Bushing failure causes the Knocking and Popping noises driving over a rough patch.
  • The Strut Top Mount is assembled with the Front Shock Absorber Strut. So for removing this, you would need to disassemble the Front Strut.

Pro Tip

  • In the interest of safety, Always use a safe method to compress and Decompress the Spring while dismantling the front strut assembly.
  • It is preferred to use a Hydraulic or Pneumatic Strut removal fixture
  • If that isn’t available, then use a Lead-Screw Type of Spring Compressor

Vauxhall Corsa Front Lower Control Arm Failure

Symptoms:

  • The car seems to be drifting
  • Steering seems vague while Lane Changing
  • Uneven Tire Wear pattern
  • Knocking Noises while going over Rough Patches
  • Usually seen in First Generation Corsa C platform cars (2003-2010)

Root Cause:

  • Tire Uneven wear issue, mostly says that the alignment of the front suspension is outside of the recommended settings. But this is still a symptom.
  • The cause for alignment change points to the Lower control arm Bushings and Ball-joints that may have got worn or damaged

Troubleshooting Front Lower Control Arm Bushing Failure: Lower Control Arm Bushing

  • Lower Control Arm bushing wears out over time and cracks due to age
  • To assess the bushing condition, you can use a Pry-bar and insert it between the Lower control arm and the Subframe. Now, try to move the Lower Control arm using the Pry-bar and observe the movement at the Bush location. If the lower control arm moves without much force, then it means that the bushes have worn out.
  • When inspecting the Lower control arm after removal, it is clear that there are tears and cracks in the rubber portion.

Troubleshooting Front Lower Control Arm Bushing Failure: Lower Control Arm Ball-Joint

  • The lower control arm ball-joints are also subject to wear and tear.
  • The deterioration is usually initiated as a crack or rupture in the rubber boot around the ball-joint
  • This leads to loss of lubrication and finally to complete wear out
  • The wear out causes play or movement accompanied by knocking noise. The play in the ball-joint is one of the reasons for the vehicle steering feeling vague.
  • You can check for Ball-joint condition by this simple procedure:
    • Get the car on a Ramp
    • Lock the steering wheel
    • Hold the front tire with both your hands and try to steer the wheel
    • If you hear a ‘Knock’ or ‘Click’, then it is very much likely that the noise is due to a play in the Ball-joint
  • The Corsa C had a split Lower Control Arm in that, the Ball-joint along with its housing, was a Bolt-on to the Lower Control arm. Therefore this can be changed separately without needing to replace the Lower Control Arm

Pro-Tip

  • For Rusted Bolt connections that are hard to Break-open, do not try repeatedly using hand or pneumatic tools.
  • Always first soak it for 10-15 min after spraying a good Rust-penetrant

Vauxhall Corsa Front/Rear Wheel Bearing Failure

Symptoms:

  • Droning noise above 30 mph speeds
  • Sound is louder with increasing speed
  • Explained here as seen on Vauxhall/Corsa D platform

Troubleshooting Front Wheel Bearing Failure

  • Droning noise is generally associated with one of the wheel bearings depending on where the noise is coming from
  • Wheel bearings generally have a life of 70K miles, after which, on detecting noise issues, must be replaced
  • In the Vauxhall Corsa, the wheel bearing is housed within the Wheel Spindle.
  • After dismantling the Knuckle, separate it from the wheel hub using a hammer.
  • Remove the Circlip retainer ring of the Hub using a remover plier.
  • It would be best to use a Hydraulic Press for removing the  bearing, using an appropriate size collar.
  • For fitting the new bearing, follow the same procedure in reverse order.

Rear Wheel Bearing

  •  The Rear Wheel bearing is housed inside the hub.
  • Once the Brake Drum has been removed, the Hub is accessible. The Hub is removed by loosening the Center Axle Bolt.
  • The rear wheel bearing is available as a kit which is pre-assembled along with the hub. So it is best to just replace the wheel hub.

Conclusion

In this brief article we have discussed the different Vauxhall Corsa Suspension problems, what the causes are, and Troubleshooting Tips.

For any questions or comments, please feel free to get in touch with us.

Leave a Comment