A car’s suspension setup is a crucial component in determining a car’s drivability and ride comfort. Having a good set of shocks and dampers can make the difference between a harsh or compliant ride. But as with many other components, a car’s suspension may start to leak or deteriorate over time. When that happens, you’d be in for a rough ride. Literally. To help with that, here are some of the signs you’re due for a car suspension service.
Uneven tyre wear
This may be the easiest telltale sign of the lot. All you have to do is look down at your tyres. A deteriorating suspension setup may alter the camber, toe, or caster of your car. That’s the angle your tyres are relative to the car. In ordinary cars, positive camber is used as it provides more straight-line stability. Some performance cars use negative camber for better cornering.
But I’m getting off topic. Basically, both positive and negative camber do have their advantages. But too much of a good thing is bad. And when a car’s tyres lean inward or outward too much, the contact patch between the ground and the tyre is smaller, and more prone to wear or damage. This will lead to uneven tyre treads, and in turn pose a safety risk. So if you do spot uneven treading on your tyres after multiple tyre changes, get a car suspension service.
Car pulling to the side
A car pulling to the left or right is one of the most common signs of suspension problems. It is also one of the hardest to diagnose because it requires expertise from a professional. If the toe or camber of your car is offset by a few degrees, it can cause the wheels to turn to the sides instead of staying straight. This issue may be associated with your tyres or your brakes as well. But its still worthwhile to get your car suspension serviced or checked, just to be on the safe side of things.
Bad ride quality
I’ve personally experienced this while driving some older cars with weakening suspension systems. When the rubber dampers or bushings begin to harden and crack, the springs bear all the weight of the car. This may cause the shocks to start producing a knocking racket when you’re traversing over cobbled ground or brick roads.
This may also be caused by leaking suspension fluid or oil in the shock absorbers. As the rubber seals corrode over time, the suspension fluid may leak out and weaken the damping effectiveness of the suspension. A sign of this is the appearance of oil stains from the struts. When that happens, you should get your car checked out by a professional before the problem worsens.
Dipping under braking or acceleration.
Most production cars have engines mounted in the front, and the added weight of the heavy engine block will exert more pressure on the front shocks. Under braking, cars will lean forward because of the deceleration forces acting on the mass of the car. That’s physics. Conversely, your car will lean back under acceleration.
If you’re pushing your car to the limit and your car dips or leans, that’s perfectly normal. But if the nose of your car dips too low or leans too much in normal day-to-day driving conditions, you may have a bigger problem at hand. In such situations, you’re better off getting your a car suspension service or get your suspension repaired.
Thankfully, there are a number of workshops that provide car suspension service and repairs in Singapore. So getting your suspension fixed is a simple affair. And besides, even the worst of the worst rustbuckets can still limp their way to a workshop. Unless you’re looking at a collapsed suspension. That’s a different story.