front-suspensionThe suspension system of a vehicle is connected to the steering system. Together they work to provide a safe and comfortable ride, and to keep the vehicle in the driver’s control.

In a perfect world, all roads would be perfectly smooth and all cars would have smooth rides. However, in the real world, potholes, pebbles, and unpaved roads can make for a bumpy ride. That’s where a suspension system comes in!

How the Suspension System Works

The suspension system of most vehicles is made of springs, shocks, and struts.
When the vehicle drives over a bump, the springs compress. After the bump, the springs expand. This allows the wheel to go over the bump while keeping the vehicle level. The same works for potholes.

However, in order to keep the springs from continually bouncing until the energy from the bump or pothole is gone, another part takes over. The struts and shock absorbers take the energy from the springs, and allow the vehicle to remain stable. This helps the vehicle keep the tires on the road, which is necessary for accurate steering, braking, and general control of the vehicle.

Signs a Suspension System Needs Repair

The most obvious sign that a suspension system needs to be checked out is a noticeably bouncy or rough ride. If you’re suspicious, try pushing down on the hood of your car. If it bounces more than once or twice, it’s time to get your shocks and struts checked.

Everyday driving can also wear on the suspension system, and hitting bumps or potholes, or driving on unpaved roads at high speeds can damage a suspension system faster. Whether you’ve been in an accident or not, there are some signs of damage to a suspension system.

Other common signs include the following:

• The wear on your tires is uneven or excessive in a short period of time.
• Your shocks or struts are leaking fluid.
• During a turn, your vehicle sways to the side.
• Bumps cause your vehicle to bounce excessively.
• When you hit the brakes, the front of your vehicle dips down.

Repairing Suspension Systems Following a Collision

Especially when the front of a vehicle is damaged during an accident, there is risk of damage to a suspension system. A suspension system is critical to maintaining the safety of your vehicle, and keeping it on the road. If you notice any of the signs listed above, consider speaking with your local collision repair expert.

suspensionYour vehicle’s steering and suspension system plays a huge role in the performance and safety of the vehicle, and it’s one of the biggest ways that a driver maintains control of the vehicle. Usually, when the steering and suspension system is affected, it is due to a collision in the front of the vehicle or to one of the rear wheels.

The steering system is what allows the driver to control where the vehicle goes. It needs to be properly aligned to accurately control the direction of the vehicle. Most steering systems are basically mechanical, but the addition of power steering to most vehicles on the road today can make things a little more complex. Power steering makes the wheels easier to turn, but it also leave more room for things to go wrong in the case of a collision, or more upkeep after normal wear and tear.

The suspension system allows the vehicle to convert the forward and back energy from hitting bumps in the road into vertical energy, which is why the vehicle bounces up and down, especially on bumpy roads. It is made up of coil springs, shock absorbers, and other parts, depending on the make and model of your vehicle.

Maintaining the Steering and Suspension System in Your Vehicle

Like other systems in the average vehicle, day to day use causes some wear and tear on the steering and suspension system. Bumps in the road, driving off-road, allowing a vehicle to sit outdoors without being used, and other things can wear on the system. Power steering, alignments, and eventually, replacing suspension parts may all be part of a vehicle’s regular maintenance.

In the case of a collision, however, you may notice that your vehicle shows signs of damage and the suspension or steering systems may need repaired sooner. If it is not obvious by looking at a vehicle that the steering or suspension are off, these signs could mean that there is more damage to your vehicle than meets the eye.

The steering wheel shakes.

If your steering wheel is shaking either when the vehicle idles, or is going at high speeds, you could have an issue with your brakes, or it could be caused by a problem with your power steering system.

The wheels are difficult to turn.

If the power steering fluid is low or has sprung a leak, your wheels may be much harder to turn.

The wheels squeal when you turn.

This is another sign that your power steering fluid may be low.

Your Steering wheel is not aligned.

If your steering wheel is straight and your vehicle drives to one side or the other, you may need an alignment.

Excessive Bouncing

If your vehicle is bouncing up and down more than normal on the same quality roads, there could be an issue with your suspension system.