Your suspension works hard on every journey and inevitably its components suffer gradual wear and occasional damage. If one component begins to degrade, it transfers stresses onto other linked components and for that reason, good maintenance greatly reduces your long-term running costs. The philosophy at every Protyre garage is to offer a free suspension check from our fully qualified fitters entirely free of charge and without obligation.
When to have a check-up
Most car makers recommend full suspension overhauls at about 50,000 miles but more frequent inspections – especially when they are free – will catch problems early and avoid unnecessary damage. Frequent adjustment will also help maintain the car's handling. Many motorists choose to combine a free suspension check with a wheel alignment or rotation which is usually done about every 10-15,000 miles. Others make it an annual or bi-annual routine or combine it with a full or mini-service (see our bronze, silver and gold service packages). You can also combine one with an oil change or free brake and tyre checks.
It is also wise to book in for a free suspension check if your car has recently suffered any kind of exceptional bump or collision, if you've been driving it off-road, or if you've noticed any odd noises, vibrations, steering issues or unusual tyre wear.
Signs you need your suspension checked
Not all suspension systems are the same – for example, some use torsion bars while others have coil or leaf springs – but they all consist of numerous components, including strut forks, strut rods, shock absorbers, control arm bushings, ball joints, mounts, sway/stabiliser bars and steering linkages. Wear to different components can cause distinctive symptoms that you might notice while driving.
Unusual noises can include clanking (a metal-on-metal sound caused by failing control arm bushings or stabiliser end links), knocking after you hit a bump or drive over uneven tarmac (suggesting an issue with struts, mounts or ball joints), a growling noise when you reach a certain speed (indicating a wheel bearing problem) or occasional squeaks (which can be due to perished rubber bushes). Noises when turning the steering wheel may also be suspension related.
Steering problems are always a cause for concern and should always be checked out, but some are suspension related. Symptoms include a pull to one side, loose or off-centre steering and oversteering or understeering when cornering. Vibrations in the steering column or a harsh sensation of the road surface through your seat are also indications.
Other symptoms include a bouncy rolling motion when driving, a nosedive when braking or a low corner when parked. Fluid leaks under the car (if you have fluid in your shocks) is also a warning sign.
Combining with tyre checks
Uneven tyre wear (such as a difference between the inner and outer tread) often alerts our tyre professionals that you need a suspension check. Problems such as underinflation or wheel-misalignment can mimic suspension issues, so it makes sense to take advantage of our free tyre checks too. Some damaged or poor-quality tyres produce similar noises and vibrations at speed. If that is your problem, you can browse our great range of tyres from quality brands including Pirelli and Bridgestone. Why not contact your local Protyre about free tyre and suspension checks today?