Your car’s suspension system is complex and made up of many different parts. They include shock absorbers, springs, struts, and ball joints, just to name a few. These components, along with your wheels and tires, control how your car handles the road. The suspension system also helps manage wear and tear on your car especially over bumps and in uneven road conditions.
Below are five common signs you may have a suspension problem. If you recognize any of these issues in your own ride, bring your vehicle to the experts at Mission Auto Repair. Suspension problems are complex, difficult, and best left to professionals.
1. Your Car is Pulling to One Side (or Has Difficulty Steering)
If your car pulls to one side, the alignment may be out of spec. (If you blow through a pothole or climb over a curb or two, your alignment can get out of spec.)
Now it could be your car is pulling due to a problem with an overinflated or underinflated tire, but it’s more likely that the camber, caster, or toe need to be inspected and re-aligned. If you notice this pulling during turns, the shocks could be going out, decreasing your vehicle’s stability. Sudden changes in alignment don’t happen magically. Something broke. It could be a broken spring or control arm. Poor alignment means uneven tire wear, annoying pulling, a constant fight with the steering wheel, and even decreased gas mileage.
2. Your Car’s Shock Absorbers are Greasy
If you take a look at the shock absorbers, they should be dry. Greasy or oily shock absorbers are likely leaking fluid. This could damage your vehicle if left untreated. If the shocks are bad, you’ll likely notice a more bouncy aspect to the ride since the suspension springs are doing all the work. Our technicians can take a look to see if there’s an issue.
3. Your Car Dips, Leans, or Lurches During Stops
If you’ve felt yourself jolt forward during a normal stop, it’s time to get your vehicle’s suspension checked. Lurching and dipping when you apply the brakes may mean that the shocks have worn out. Not only is it unpleasant, but it can increase the time it takes for you to come to a stop – which means that it also increases your chance of an accident. Watch for your car doing “nose dives” when braking (it leans forward), or it “rolls” to the side when cornering (it leans side-to-side), or it “squats” during acceleration (it leans backward).
4. Uneven Tire Treads
If you’re getting your tires rotated regularly, they should all wear down at the same rate. Furthermore, all parts of the tire that come in contact with the ground should wear down evenly. If you notice one tire that’s more worn than the others, or that the wear on each tire is uneven, it’s a likely sign that your vehicle isn’t being held evenly.
This is an easy thing to watch for, and an early warning sign that you should get your suspension checked out. Not only will it help you increase the longevity of your vehicle, but it also saves your tires!
5. Driving Feels Bouncy or Rough
While no drive will be completely smooth, modern suspensions and shock absorbers have made it much easier to avoid bouncing around when you drive. If you’re feeling every bump in the road, you’re not the only one: your vehicle can feel it, too. And if you’re not being cushioned from those jolts, then neither is your car. Let us help you get things right so you can enjoy your drive again.
Most people don’t stop to give the suspension in their vehicle much thought – until it starts showing problems. The bumps and jolts themselves can be incredibly uncomfortable, and bad suspension can cause significant damage to your vehicle. Sometimes the symptoms may be there but can easily be mistaken for something else, or may have occurred gradually and therefore seem normal. Recognizing the warning signs of suspension system problems can mean the difference between needing major or minor repairs.
If you have questions, call the experts at Mission Auto Repair or bring your vehicle in for an appointment. We’ll get things smoothed out for you, and your car.