STEERING & SUSPENSIONS The Suspension is the system of tyres, tyre air, springs shock absorbers The Suspension is the system of tyres, tyre air, springs shock absorbers and linkages that connects a vehicle to its wheels which allows relative motion between the two. Suspension systems must support both road holding/handling – ride quality which is at odds with each other. The tuning of suspensions involves finding the right compromise. It is important for the suspension to keep the road wheel in contact with the road surface as much as possible because all the road or ground forces acting on the vehicle do so through the contact patches of the tyres The suspension also protects the vehicle itself and any cargo or luggage from damage and wear. The design of front and rear suspension of a car may be different. We offer a free health check inspection which includes steering and suspensions also. Our technicians will assess the condition of your suspension and inform you if anything should need replacing. We will never do any work prior consulting/showing you that work or repair on your vehicle is necessary and agreeing the price with you! For a free quote or advice, please contact us: Quick enquiry or Get a Quote, someone from our team will contact you shortly or at a time that suit’s you. Call us on 01753 850 539 Alternatively, visit our Centre for best information and advice possible with no obligation. HOW DOES YOUR CAR’S SUSPENSION SYSTEM WORK? To have a better picture please see sample table below: Principle Definition Goal Solution Road Isolation The vehicle's ability to absorb or isolate road shock from the passenger compartment Allow the vehicle body to ride undisturbed while travelling over rough roads. Absorb energy from road bumps and dissipate it without causing undue oscillation in the vehicle. Road Holding The degree to which a car maintains contact with the road surface in various types of directional changes and in a straight line (Example: The weight of a car will shift from the rear tyres to the front tyres during braking distance. Because the nose of the car dips toward the road, this type of motion is known as "dive." The opposite effect -- "squat" -- occurs during acceleration, which shifts the weight of the car from the front tyres to the back.) Keep the tyres in contact with the ground because it is the friction between the tyres and the road that affects a vehicle's ability to steer, brake and accelerate. Minimize the transfer of vehicle weight from side to side and front to back, as this transfer of weight reduces the tire's grip on the road. Cornering The ability of a vehicle to travel a curved path at certain speed. Minimize body roll, which occurs as centrifugal force pushes outward on a car's centre of gravity while cornering, raising one side of the vehicle and lowering the opposite side. Transfer the weight of the car during cornering from the high side of the vehicle to the low side of the vehicle. SHOCKS, STRUTS, TIE RODS, BALL JOINTS, RACK AND PINION, CV JOINTS & AXLES HOW DOES YOUR CAR’S SUSPENSION SYSTEM WORK? The streets and roads we drive on are not perfectly flat. Even freshly paved highways have bumps that interact with the wheels of your car. Without a suspension system, every bump would be felt right through to the frame of the car. The wheels would repetitively lose contact with the road and then be slammed back onto the surface. There wouldn’t be any comfort in the ride – your car would be hard – if not impossible to steer and you wouldn’t be satisfied with the ride at all. But the suspension system of your car cushions the bumps. The body and passenger compartment of the car travels smoothly while the wheels and tyres follow the bumps in the road. WHAT DOES YOUR SUSPENSION SYSTEM DO? WHAT ARE THE MAIN FUNCTIONS OF A CAR SUSPENSION SYSTEM? A look at car suspension system from underneath the car There are three main functions of your suspension system. Keep the tyres on the road: The only way your car can steer, accelerate, stop and corner are if the tyres are in contact with the road. That’s because of the friction created between the tyres and the road. Your suspension system keeps the tyres ‘hugging’ the road and assures the weight of the vehicle is properly positioned to maintain the grip Provide stable steering and handling: The suspension system keeps your car from tipping or rolling over during cornering. Passenger comfort: When you think about it, the suspension system really isolates the body and passenger compartment of your car from all the ‘bumps and grinds’ in the road. The suspension components actually absorb and disperse the movement – the upward and downward energy – that’s created as your car moves down the road over the bumps. The entire suspension system on your car is made up of many different components including springs shocks and/or struts and all the components that connect to the steering and the chassis. The job of the suspension is to balance your vehicle during driving, cornering and steering while keeping the passenger compartment comfortable. SHOCKS AND OTHER SUSPENSION COMPONENTS EXPLAINS ABOUT THE COMPONENTS OF A TYPICAL SUSPENSION SYSTEM THAT NEED TO BE CHECKED REGULARLY SHOCKS AND STRUTS Shocks should be checked for proper operation, damage and leaks. If the actual shock absorber is damaged, it can’t move up and down properly and absorb the bumps in the road. Leaks of the hydraulic fluid show up as the shock being wet and/or oily. That fluid cannot be replaced and the entire shock has to be replaced. Shocks and Struts plus other suspension parts explained STRUTS Struts are used on some vehicles in place of shock absorbers. They look like a shock with a spring over top. The struts act to stabilize your vehicle and keep it from swaying, bouncing and bottoming out while absorbing the bumps from the road. TIE RODS Tie rods are part of the steering mechanism of your car. Tie rods help push and pull the front tyres as the steering wheel is turned. They play a key role in the performance of your vehicle’s steering – and your safety. Faulty tie rods can result in erratic steering, wandering and significant tire wear. BALL JOINTS Many of the front-end sounds and clunks that you may hear can be symptoms of ball joint failure The ball joint is the pivot between your vehicle’s wheels and its suspension system. This means they’re also critical to safe steering. Clicking, Snapping, Squeaking. Many front-end sounds are often symptoms of a bad ball joint. Because these joints link your vehicle’s wheels to its suspension system, driving around with faulty ball joints is really a safety hazard. RACK AND PINION Your vehicle’s steering system relies on the rack and pinion to make the steering feel ‘tight. Rack-and-pinion steering is quickly becoming the most common type of steering on cars, small trucks and SUVs. The rack-and-pinion gear set does two things. First, it converts the motion of the steering wheel into the motion needed to turn the wheels. Second, it provides a gear reduction, making it easier to turn the wheels. CV JOINTS AND CV AXLES If you hear clicking noises when steering or making a turn, it’s probably because of a problem with your car’s CV joints or CV Axles. These components parts are found on all Front Wheel Drive (FWD) cars and some Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) cars. CV stands for Constant Velocity. The CV Joints and CV Axles are found inside a rubber casing called a CV Boot. Understand that torn CV boots and worn CV joints or axles can cause damage to transmissions and other components. STEERING AND SUSPENSION PARTS SHOCKS WORN OUT? HOW CAN I TELL IF SHOCKS AND STRUTS ARE WORN OUT? Although this test is not intended to replace a proper inspection by a qualified technician, it will give you an idea regarding the wear of either shocks or struts. Here are a few things you can do to check yourself. But use caution – this is not intended to be a replacement for a proper inspection of your suspension and steering by a qualified technician. Push down quickly and firmly on the front and rear of your vehicle. If the car bounces more than once or twice, you may need to replace your shocks and struts. Some initial signs of suspension problems are: Tyre Wear: Your tyres seem to have excessive or uneven tread wear. Leaking: Your shocks or struts are leaking fluid. Damage: Your shock or strut casings are dented or damaged. Mounts: The shock or strut mounts are broken or worn. Drifting: Your vehicle seems to float, sway or drift during turns. Rough Ride: Your vehicle bounces excessively when you hit a bump. Dip or nosedive: Your vehicle tends to “nose dive” when you apply the brakes. Here’s a Look at the Key Components of Your Cars Steering and Suspension System The image below shows you where the key components of your car’s suspension and steering systems are. Click the image to enlarge: Illustration of a Typical Steering and Suspension System WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SHOCKS AND STRUTS? What’s the different between Shocks and Struts? Shock absorbers are more common on trucks and SUV’s while struts are usually found on cars. The shock absorber cushions the bouncing of the wheels using nothing but hydraulics. On the other hand, struts are a little more complex. They absorb the shocks by combining steering elements and support for the vehicle. At first glance, struts appear like a shock absorber with a spring on top. Typically, when it comes to cost, struts are more expensive to replace. That’s because they’re a more complex part. Regardless of what your car has, shocks and struts cannot be interchanged. If your car was built with struts – then they have to be replaced with struts. You can’t switch from struts to shocks.