People don’t think about their suspension very often. Even when their tires wear out faster than they expected or it takes too long to stop, they don’t realize their suspension could be at fault. Fact is, it’s the suspension that keeps the rubber on the road. If it’s not working correctly, tires could skip up and down and won’t grip as well when needed.
The suspension system includes the springs and shock absorbers, called struts when combined into a single unit, plus the various rods and linkages holding the wheels in the correction orientation.
Struts and shock absorbers wear out, as do rubber bushings. Springs become tired and gradually relax and compress. But because this wear is gradual, car owners don’t notice the deterioration in ride and handling until it becomes really severe.
Symptoms of suspension system wear and fatigue include:
- Excessive play in the steering. The car seems to wander and needs frequent steering corrections.
- Uneven tire wear. Lateral bands of wear in particular, known as cupping, indicate worn shock absorbers.
- Diving under braking.
- Bouncing over potholes.
If the shock absorbers have done more than 50,000 miles or your struts have 75-90,000 miles, have your car looked it. Unless the problem is really obvious, like a leaking shock absorber, diagnosis usually needs a road test. At FrankLynn Automotive our technicians have a lot of experience of identifying and solving suspension problems. They’ll evaluate how the car feels and performs and come back to you with an explanation of the work needed and why.
When it comes to selecting replacements, several companies make excellent quality suspension components. We’ve had good experience with those from KYB. And if you’re interested in learning more about how suspension components work and when to replace them, they have some good information on their website.