Everything You Need To Know About Car Suspension
- How does a car suspension work?
- Car suspension parts
- Car suspension types
- Car suspension maintenance tips
A car suspension isn’t exactly a single component in your car. It is basically a system that connects several other parts and ensures that all those parts keep working together. With a good suspension, it can feel like your car is gliding on ice – but with a bad suspension, every ride is rocky and bumpy. This guide offers an overview of this simple system that supports many complex mechanisms.
Read on to learn all about car suspension, its working, types and some maintenance tips.
How does a car suspension work?
The purpose of a car suspension is to keep the wheels on the road and the vehicle steady. The suspension joins the wheels to the car body and increases the friction between the road and tyres. It makes the car stable, allows easy steering and provides a comfortable ride.
To understand how car suspension works, one must observe how roads and wheels interact. All roads, even the smoothest one, have bumps and irregularities. When tyres come in contact with these edges and cuts, they exert a force back on the tyres. In the absence of a system absorbing this force and shock, the car body will jump up or sideways. Car suspension ensures shock absorption to keep the car steady on the road.
Furthermore, the car suspension system ensures effective movement of the vehicle on a sharp turn. If not for car suspension, the balance of the vehicle would be disturbed with more weight on one side – a classic vehicular disaster.
Car Suspension Parts
The suspension of a car absorbs and dampens shocks, helps the tire maintain contact with the road and supports the weight. There are several important components that allow it to do all of it:
Springs are a crucial component of a suspension system and absorb motion from the tyres. The modern car suspension system has a spring system with either one of the following designs:
- Coil Springs
One of the most common spring designs, coil spring is a torsion bar coiled around an axis. It expands and compresses to absorb the tyre motions.
- Leaf Springs
With many metal layers (leaves) bound tightly as one unit to absorb the shock, the leaf springs are one of the oldest spring systems. These were used in the American automobile until 1985. Some heavy-duty vehicles and trucks still make use of them.
- Air Springs
Air springs have an air-filled cylindrical chamber between the car body and the wheels. They make use of the air compression to absorb the vibrations in the wheels. It is a century-old idea and was used in even horse-drawn buggies.
- Torsion bars
Usually, a steel bar is used. Its twisting properties mimic the coil-spring movement. This system was used extensively in Europe and in the US during the 1950s and 1960s.
Unfortunately, while great at absorbing energy, springs do not dissipate it very well. Therefore, other structures such as the dampers are required to perform the dissipation.
There are two structures used for the dampening purpose in a car suspension. These are shock absorbers and struts.
- Shock Absorbers
Also known as the snubber, a shock absorber is a device to control unnecessary spring motion via dampening. A shock absorber turns the kinetic energy of the suspension movement into heat by reducing and slowing down the magnitude of vibrations. It is then dissipated through hydraulic fluid.
A strut is another dampening tool – a simple shock-absorbing device resting inside a coil spring. It performs two tasks: dampens the shock and provides support to the suspension system. In a way, struts are even more important than the shock absorbers, as they also manage the vehicle weight by controlling the speed of weight shift.
3. Anti-sway Bars
Also known as anti-roll bars, these are used along with either the struts or the shock absorbers and provide additional stability to the moving automobile. It is basically a long metal rod that joins both sides of a suspension together.
The anti-sway bars transfer the movement to the other wheel when the suspension dallies up and down on one wheel. This reduces the vehicle sway and creates a balanced ride. This also allows the car to move steadily even around the corners and when turning. Therefore, you will find the anti-sway bars necessary for the car suspension system in the modern vehicle.
In case your car does not have these bars, you can get them installed from any auto repair centre in the vicinity. If you are good at handling tools, you can buy affordable car tools and install these bars yourself.
Types of Car Suspension
Although car suspension can be divided into different types, the most conventional classification gives us three categories:
1. Dependent Suspension System
In this suspension system, a solid axle is fixed along the frame’s width, joining the set of wheels on the left and right sides. This way, they operate as a single unit. This means when one side of the car makes a turn, the other side moves in that direction as well. Since both sides of the wheels have a dependency on each other, the system is called a dependent suspension.
The dependent suspension is best for rough terrain and roads. Many rear-wheel cars and SUVs have dependent suspension as their primary suspension system.
2. Independent Suspension System
In this suspension type, there is no connection between the two sets of wheels on either side via an axle. Therefore, wheels on both sides have different reactions in such a system. This means if the wheel on one side experiences a bump only it will be affected but not the wheel on the other side.
Many drivers prefer this suspension over-dependent because it offers better and more comfortable driving. There are a few variations of this system, modified for different functionalities.
For example, the rear independent suspension uses MacPherson strut and has an allowance for the external shafts. In this system, there is a driveshaft linked to the vehicle frame. The drive shaft gives the drive to the car wheels.
There are various other suspension varieties available that have improved the driving quality. One such type is the adaptive air suspension in which the system electronically controls every wheel. The suspension system has a damping-system, which is continuously adaptive. There are sensors to monitor the chassis-axle distance.
3. Semi-independent or Twist Beam Suspension System
In this system, the movement of one side of the wheels affects the other side wheels to some extent. The suspension usually works for the rear wheel. Its advantages are low cost, durability and lightness thanks to its simple design.
Tips to Maintain Car Suspension
Maintaining the suspension system of a car is crucial to ensure safe driving experience. Given below are a few tips to maintain the car suspension system:
- Inspect the rubber bushings on the control arms, track bars, sway bars, strut rods and more
- Thoroughly inspect all the parts of the car suspension especially after an oil change
- Immediately repair any oil leaks
- Also, clean any oil contamination or debris on any rubber bushing
- Inspect parts of the suspension for signs of oil contamination, swelling and get them fixed
- You must also inspect the ball joints such as stabiliser link pins, rubber boots and tie rod ends
- Check the shocks and struts for any oil leaks, and if there is any wetness on any parts of suspension then you should replace them
- Have the grease fittings in your car refilled with every oil change
- Perform a bounce test on your car suspension to check it doesn’t bounce more than twice because that would mean worn out struts and shocks that need replacement
Also, have a look at these 7 mistakes that damage a car suspension system.
Where to buy suspension kits and parts in the UAE
If your car suspension isn’t working properly, you probably just need to replace a part or component that is faulty. However, sometimes people also look for complete suspension kits to upgrade their cars. No matter what you need and where you live in the UAE, you can find it all on dubizzle:
- Buy car suspension in Dubai
- Car suspension for sale in Abu Dhabi
- Used car suspension system for sale in Sharjah
- Buy affordable car suspension in Ajman
Which type of suspension is best for cars?
Engineers have tackled this problem with varying degrees of complexity, but the MacPherson Strut, double wishbone and multi-link systems are considered the best.
What is the car suspension system cost in the UAE?
The replacement of shocks and struts cost around AED 850 to AED 1000 for a regular vehicle, and AED 1500 or more for luxury or sport vehicles. Suspension parts for heavy vehicles and SUVs might cost higher.
How long does a suspension system last?
The shock absorbers of a suspension system last for around 3 to 4 years. However, it depends on usage. Sometimes, they can wear off earlier due to bad road conditions or driving practices. In other cases, they may work for a good 8 to 10 years before failing.
Does a bad car suspension make sounds while driving?
Suspension noise such as clunking, rattling or popping on rough roads is a sign of bad suspension. You should get it checked or replaced immediately.
Now that you know what a suspension is and where to buy suspension parts and kits, check out other car accessories on sale in Dubai on dubizzle. In addition to maintaining your car suspension, avoid bad driving habits to keep your manual car in shape.
Stay tuned to the UAE’s best car blog for more information on car parts and automotive technology.