Car suspension and shock absorber repair

By Julia Freeman

If we were asked to list car components in order of importance, we would probably say the car suspension and tyres, with brakes and engine only making 3rd and 4th places. Our reasoning is simple, a car can move only so long as it is connected to the road. How well it is connected to the road determines how well it can move or stop.

suspension and shock absorber repair

If we were listing maintenance priorities our choice would be similar. Although the gearbox is a common repair, drivers can’t do much about them, but tyres, especially tyre pressure, need frequent attention. Issues with suspension components are one of the easiest to avoid or delay by regular servicing. After lights, two of the most common causes of MOT failures are tyres and car suspension.

Car suspension

Your car suspension consists of many parts; arms, struts, springs, ball joints, dampers, bushings, anti-sway bars and so on. It supports the weight of the car, connects the wheels to the steering, absorbs road impacts and supports the transmission. Mechanically speaking, it is the skeleton of the car.

Potholes and kerbs are the bane of car suspension: missing the kerb when trying to squeeze into a tight parking space is difficult, missing potholes nowadays is impossible. Consequently, your wheels, suspension components and shock absorbers take punishment from all directions throughout the life of the car. No matter how well they are built, they will detune, go out of alignment and suffer wear. When one part is damaged it exposes others to risks, so it really is a case of “a stitch saves nine” with car suspension.

 Here at Protyre, we would prefer you to book a regular high-quality service check and avoid serious problems. However, if you don’t, the first signs of trouble might be one of the following:

Tilting

If one corner of the car seems to sit slightly lower on a level surface, you could have a suspension issue.

Noises

Knocking, creaking and screeching sounds can all be indicators of suspension issues. To illustrate, your wheels are attached to the suspension by ball joints and when these are worn, they creak like rusty door hinges. A knocking sound when you hit a bump is often because a loose strut is allowing the spring to hit the chassis. Worn control arm hinges cause clunks and rattles when braking or accelerating but more seriously impair your vehicle control. Noises aren’t just an irritation; they are a warning that something is wrong

Too much bounce

If your car’s nose dips when braking it indicates that your shock absorbers are not doing their job. You can also carry out the well-known test of pushing firmly down on the boot or bonnet. The car should rise back and stabilise immediately, not bounce up and down. Most modern cars have shock absorbers in the rear but a strut assembly at the front, but it should still behave in the same way. Many cars go through several sets of shock absorbers, but regular servicing can extend their lifespan and warn you in advance so you can budget for replacements. If you catch issues early, they can sometimes be repaired.

Too many bumps

If you notice your ride becoming bumpier, or you think you can feel the road surface through your car seat, a suspension problem could be to blame. However, cars will vary in road feel and if you have recently fitted run flats, XL tyres or bigger rims your ride will be affected.

Steering problems

Never ignore a steering problem, drive straight to a Protyre garage for a free safety check. Suspension problems often degrade your stability when cornering and braking. You need to have your car checked sooner rather than later. If the car is veering to one side of the road a worn control bushing is one likely cause. Uncorrected, these problems will also ruin your tyres.

Wheel alignment

When wheels go out of precise alignment, the handling suffers, vibrations arise and even fuel economy suffers. One symptom that is easy to spot is accelerated and uneven tyre wear. You may only need wheel re-alignment but neglected it can damage your suspension. You can book in to have this checked at any Protyre garage using our online garage finder.

Tyres

Tyres and suspension are components of the same system: a problem with one often reveals itself in the other. Damaged or worn tyres can lead to worn suspension components and vice versa. Our qualified fitters will tell you that the easiest way to maximise performance and extend the lifetime of a car is to look after its tyres and suspension. Be kind to your suspension by fitting high quality tyres such as Bridgestone or Michelin.

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About the author

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By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Retail Marketing for Protyre and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to make sure Protyre is more than just a local garage.
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