A car’s suspension is responsible for maximizing the friction between your tires and the road’s surface, to provide the most steering stability with good handling and to make sure you and your passengers are comfortable during the drive. If roads were perfectly flat, there would be no need for suspension in your vehicle. However, all roads, even highways, have subtle imperfections that come in contact with the wheels of the car and apply force to the wheels. A bump in the road causes your tires to move up and down, perpendicular to the road’s surface. Without an intervening system, all of this vertical energy produced by the wheels will transfer to your vehicle’s frame, which will move in the same direction. Without your suspension system, even the wheels of your car can bounce off the road and then come back down with gravity. Your suspension is a system that will absorb the energy of the vertically accelerated wheel, allowing the frame and body to ride undisturbed while the wheels follow bumps in the road.
How does my vehicle’s suspension work?
The three fundamental components of a vehicle’s suspension are the springs, dampers, and anti-sway bars. The sprung mass in a vehicle is the mass of the vehicle supported by springs, and the unsprung mass is the mass that is not supported by springs. The stiffness of the springs determines how the sprung mass responds to the car as you drive. Loosely sprung cars, like luxury cars, can absorb bumps and produce a smooth ride, but those cars are more prone to body sway and are not great at cornering. Tightly sprung cars, like sports cars, are less forgiving on the road but can be driven more aggressively.
Springs alone are not enough to absorb the vertical acceleration produced by your car’s wheels. The spring will continue to bounce until it runs out of energy, causing a very bumpy ride. To prevent this, your vehicle has shock absorbers that slow the springs down through a process called dampening. Shock absorbers slow down and reduce the magnitude of vibratory motions by turning the kinetic energy of suspension movement into heat energy that can be dissipated through hydraulic fluid. Anti-sway bars are used with shock absorbers and springs to stabilize vehicles as they move. An anti-sway bar is a metal rod that joins each side of the suspension together.
How do I know something is wrong with my vehicle’s suspension?
Here are five signs to watch out for that indicate your vehicle needs a suspension repair:
- Car rides roughly.
If every bump in the road causes your car to bounce, there is definitely a problem with your vehicle’s suspension.
- Drifting or pulling during turns.
If your car is drifting, this means your suspension isn’t keeping your vehicle stable when you turn.
- Dips or “nose dives” when stopping.
You may also your vehicle is taking longer to reach a complete stop.
- Uneven tire treads.
- Damaged, “oily” shocks.
If you look under your vehicle and your shocks and/or struts look greasy or oily, they are probably leaking.
Your Trusted Shop for Suspension Repair
We at SJM AutoWerks in Lake in the Hills are experts in all things auto repair. We’ve been fixing cars since 2016 and our technicians have decades of combined experience. Here are some reasons you should choose SJM AutoWerks in Lake in the Hills:
- We offer free estimates and quotes.
- Our waiting area has free coffee and water for you to enjoy.
- We are top rated on Facebook, Yelp, and RepairPal.
- We are a family-owned business and are bilingual in English and Spanish.
- Our owner has over 30 years of automotive experience, and he will call you personally about your car.
To schedule an appointment with SJM AutoWerks in Lake in the Hills, give us a call at 815-477-9735 or schedule an appointment online.