Your car’s suspension system maximises the friction between the tyres and the road surface, to provide steering stability with good handling and to ensure the comfort of the passengers. Regular suspension system and shock absorber service is highly recommended to ensure a smooth ride.
How do shock absorbers and suspensions work?
Coil springs and leaf springs are designed to absorb up/down forces to keep tyres planted firmly on the road. Most modern cars have independent front/rear suspension. Dampeners, namely struts and shock absorbers, dissipate the energy absorbed by coil springs, so up/down motion is quickly reduced to zero. If the dampeners are in proper working order, the passengers should be unaffected by dips or bumps in the road. If the components are old or faulty, the vertical energy would cause your car to jump up off the road, then come crashing back down onto the road with even greater force, reducing tyre friction and control, making for a very uncomfortable and dangerous ride.
Some cars also have torsion bars (anti-sway or anti-roll bars) that span the car’s frame and help level out side-to-side motions while cornering. Torsion bars are an important feature of the suspension system, particularly on high-profile vehicles (such as 4WDs) that are considered top-heavy.
How do shock absorbers and suspensions work? - video transcription
The suspension connects the frame of the vehicle to the wheels. it contributes to the handling characteristics of the vehicle and the comfort of the passengers. The springs and struts or shock absorbers, absorb bumps in the road and keep the body of the vehicle stable under breaking and acceleration.
Control arms, control arm bushings and bull joints allow the wheels to move up and down. The whell bearing, hub and knuckle assembly connect the wheel to the control arm.
Suspension setups can differ greatly between cars, but the most commonly used is the Macpherson strut setup. The strut is an integrated damper or shock absorber and spring assembly. The top of the strut is bolted to the frame of the vehicle, with the bottom of the strut attached to the top of the steering knuckle, the lower end of the steering knuckles attached to the lower control arm and the control arm pivots up and down as the strut is compressed and expanded.
As manufactures constantly work to improve ride and handling characteristics, suspension systems become more complex. Many vehicles now use multiple suspension links, instead of a single lower control arm.
In contrast to the Macphersion strut, this four link suspension has two upper control arms and two lower control arms. The control arms are attached to the steering knuckle by bail joints that allow the steering knuckle to pivot. The top of the spring and damper assembly is connected to the body of the vehicle and the bottom is usually conncected to the lower control arm.
This style of suspension assembly helps to maintain the correct angle between the tyre and the road even when the spring and damper are compressed or extended.
Suspension and shock absorber components
All suspension systems are different, but most include a chassis or frame, coil springs, leaf springs, dampeners including struts and shock absorbers, and anti-sway or torsion bars in various combinations.
Some of the signs that there are problems with your suspension or shock absorbers could include:
- The car not sitting level when parked.
- A lot of bouncing when you drive.
- Poor handling.
- Excessive body roll on corners.
Suspension and shock absorber repairs
At mycar, we use only the best brands such as Monroe, and have the expertise and equipment to maintain your car's steering responsiveness and stability. All shock absorber and suspension service repairs are backed by our industry-leading Australia-wide guarantee. Call us today on mycar 1300 772 579 or visit us at the nearest store.