The most common suspension problems
The main purpose of the car suspension system is to maximize friction between the vehicle's tire and the road surface, thus boosting passenger comfort and providing steering stability. Over the years, car suspensions have evolved a lot, and as of now, modern vehicles have more sophisticated suspension systems than ever before. However, problems still occur from time to time, in spite of all the improvements in suspension systems. Suspension components, such as anti-roll bars, shock absorbers, control arms, springs, and other parts take a pounding each and every day from railroad tracks, road salt, potholed streets, gravel, snow, rain, dirt and grime, and the usual piece of scrap metal or other types of debris that drivers see in the last possible moment.
Under the aforementioned conditions, it should not come as a surprise that any component of the suspension system can be damaged or worn out over the years. There are various symptoms and noises that indicate a problem or problems with some of the components that make up the suspension system of your vehicle. That’s why, in this article, we’ve prepared some of the most common problems that should tell you that you are in need of high-quality suspension repair in San Francisco:
• Ball Joints: Those components of the car suspension system rotate as the steering angle changes and take some of the shocks from up-down movement. If you hear them creaking and squeaking, especially when turning, you will know that they need replacing. A professional auto technician can tell you if they need to be replaced by the wear indicators on them, or by the amount of wheel movement they can force by hand.
• Shock Absorbers: When those suspension system components finally wear out, you should notice a lot more shaking going on over rough terrains and a bit more bouncing after a bump, because they are unable to keep the tires planted on the road. Shocks hold fluid that dampens the bouncing, and when they begin to leak, the suspension performance will deteriorate.
• Springs: They are a vital part of your car suspension system. They are the ones that hold the entire weight of your car and they can sag or break, once they are worn out. If you notice that one corner is lower than the other 3, when your vehicle is on level ground, this is a definite sign that you have a damaged spring. In addition, you might hear clunking noises when driving over bumps, and your car might not corner with confidence due to the fact that a damaged spring is unable to hold the weight it is supporting.
• Bad Wheel Alignment: If your vehicle is in need of a high-quality San Francisco suspension repair services, there’s a decent chance this might be due to a problem with your suspension. The wheels must be pointed in the correct direction and also aligned for caster, camber, and toe-in. If they aren’t, the chance of tire wear will increase, and when you are going straight, you will not be centered. Potholed and curbs are the main reason why wheels get knocked out of alignment. However, bear in mind that damaged springs or other parts that affect alignment, won’t be fixed by simply getting the wheels aligned. It’s a good idea to get the alignment inspected when you buy a new set of tires, so suspension problems don’t shorten tread life.
• Control Arms: The main purpose of these hinges is to hold the wheels to the frame and connect the steering to the wheels. That’s why, when you turn one, the other responds. Lower control arm bushings are essential components of the suspension system and it’s more likely to be worn out on front-wheel-drive vehicles rather than on rear-wheel-drive vehicles. These bushings are either rubber or metal parts which purpose is to absorb shock, and once they wear, it can result in handling and ride issues and severe tire wear. The most common signs of wear include rattles or clunks, mainly because the wheels move back and forth in both acceleration and braking.
• Struts: If the suspension system of your vehicle has struts instead of shock absorbers, a common sign of trouble is a knocking sound when driving over bumps. In many cars, SUVs, and trucks, the strut assembly plays an important role in the entire suspension system. If you suspect a problem and think you need a San Francisco suspension repair service, pay a visit to your local auto technician right away.