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Automotive Q & A

Suspension Inspection

Question: What is a vehicle suspension inspection?

Answer: Your vehicle’s suspension has many jobs, but its main task is to keep your vehicle’s tires in contact with the road. Since no road is perfectly flat, or straight for that matter, your vehicle’s suspension keeps your tires in contact with the road, whether you are going over bumps, hitting potholes, or steering around a large turn. A suspension system consists of three main parts: springs, dampers, and sway bars. Springs are used to absorb the movement and shock of your tires. There are four main types of springs: coil springs, leaf springs, torsion bars, and air springs. Coil springs are the most common type of springs. They work just like the spring in an ink pen; they compress and expand when a tire hits an uneven surface. Next are the dampers. There are two different dampening devices used in vehicles: shock absorbers and struts. A shock absorber is designed to absorb or dampen the compression and rebound of the springs and suspension. They control the unwanted and excess spring motion. Shock absorbers keep your tires in contact with the road at all times. Struts are a little bit different. They contain both a coil spring and a damper (shock absorber). They also contain spring seats, a strut bearing, and a steering knuckle. Struts have two main jobs: first, they support the vehicle’s weight and provide structural support, and second, they dampen the spring’s movement as it reacts to the road surface. Struts provide structural support by connecting the upper strut bearing to the lower ball joint. This allows the strut to move as the tire is turned. The last main part of your vehicle’s suspension is the sway bars (also called anti-sway bars or stabilizer bars). Sway bars are used to keep your vehicle from rolling over. It is a U-shaped steel bar that is connected to each of the vehicle’s front wheels. When your vehicle goes around a turn, your vehicle’s body rolls to one side, or its weight shifts to one side. When this happens, your vehicle is experiencing “body roll” or “sway.” The sway bar will control each wheel’s suspension to even out your vehicle’s body roll and keep your vehicle more level.During a suspension inspection, these main parts are examined to determine their condition and to make sure they are working properly and are safe for driving.

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