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Car suspension: 6 signs that something is off

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Fast facts about car suspension systems

Your car’s suspension system typically requires very little maintenance. But like any moving part on your car, the system can eventually wear out. While you don’t have to worry about your suspension too often, it’s an integral part of your car’s ride and helps ensure a smooth driving experience. Like other auto parts, your vehicle will give you signs when its suspension is going bad.

Keep reading to learn about your car’s suspension and the signs that the system needs repair or replacement.

What is a car suspension?

The suspension in a car is a system of springs, shock absorbers, struts and other parts. These parts act as a protective shock absorber for your vehicle and keep all passengers comfortable. Car suspension ensures a smooth ride by absorbing speed bumps, potholes and other things. It helps increase the friction between your vehicle’s tires and the road. The suspension improves traction to keep the car stable and on the road while preventing you from feeling those bumps and humps. While hitting a pothole can feel terrible, it would feel much worse without the suspension system.

The suspension consists of several parts, but the primary components of the system are shocks and springs. The shock absorbers, also known as dampers, handle the brunt of most rough roads. The springs maintain the car’s height and weight, while also helping to ensure a smooth ride.

Signs that your suspension is bad

Your vehicle’s suspension system can last from 50,000 to 100,000 miles if properly maintained. However, irregular driving and other factors can shorten the life of the system.

According to Gary Hardesty, Kelley Blue Book’s in-house service and maintenance expert and an ASE-certified master technician, you can watch for these telltale signs that something is wrong with your car’s suspension. You will typically notice a few things when driving or braking. Those are the signs.

1. The steering wheel feels shaky

While driving, the steering wheel must be stable. The suspension and steering systems go hand in hand, so if the steering wheel feels shaky and loose, there may be something wrong with the suspension system.

If your car pulls to the left or right, this is another sign that the suspension may be off.

2. Excessive tire wear

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tire cupping

There can be many reasons why your tires are worn, but one could be a faulty suspension system. When shocks and springs go bad, the car’s tires can’t absorb the road’s bumps properly, so the tires take all the damage. Tire wear will often be uneven due to the suspension system.

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Look for humps and ridges in your tires if you suspect your suspension is acting up.

3. Leaks around shocks and struts

A leak from your car around the tires can be shocks and stiffeners. Leaking fluid often means you need something replaced. So, if you encounter a leak around or above your tires, you need an auto service and repair center to check the problem.

4. An unpleasant trip

If you start to feel the road more than usual and the ride feels unusually bumpy, it’s possible that something is wrong with the car’s suspension system.

5. Car jumps after a speed bump

car-suspension-system-speed bump

A speed curve ensures that you drive slowly, especially in areas with many pedestrians. However, your car is not supposed to bounce afterwards. If your car continues to bounce after going over a speed bump, it may have a problem with the springs or struts.

A suspension system absorbs bumps, dips and ruts on the road. However, if the shock absorber system wears out, it cannot function properly to absorb the bumps, leading to a bouncy car. So if you feel like your car is still bouncing after a speed bump, get it checked out by a mechanic.

A quick way to test if your car’s suspension is bad is to press down on the rear bumper when it’s parked. Once you’ve let go, it just needs to snap back into place. However, if it is bouncy and does not return to its normal position, there is something wrong with the suspension.

6. Clunking noises

The last thing anyone wants to hear from their car is a strange noise because repairs typically follow. A clunking sound often means something is wrong with the suspension system, especially after hitting a pothole or going over a speed bump. Since car noise can come from different things, you need to pay extra attention when you hear a strange sound coming from your vehicle.

How much does it cost to repair a suspension system

A car suspension replacement can cost at least $5,000, depending on the make and model of your vehicle. The suspension is not just a part. It’s a whole system. However, if you only need a new spring, the repair cost can be relatively cheap. However, like most systems in your car, the suspension system tends to wear out evenly, so if you need to replace one part, you may need to replace most of the system.

To help extend the life of your car’s suspension system, remember to drive slowly over speed bumps and potholes, and on dirt or gravel roads where you may not see dips.

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