Q: I hear wheel knocks and my car shakes could there be something wrong with my suspension?
A: Yes, your car's suspension system is an intricate network of cooperating (usually, anyway) components designed to give you a smooth, even, stable ride. Since the suspension is ground zero when it comes to road abuse, the parts wear out, and even break. If your car doesn't seem to ride like it used to, you may have a problem down below.
Steering and Suspension
The steering and suspension system of a car are not only important for safety reasons but also enhances the comfort level of the vehicle. The two systems are directly related to each other, which is why they are always referred to together. There are two basic types, standard mechanical steering and rack & pinion steering. The standard mechanical steering can be either power assisted or non-power. Rack & pinion is almost always power assisted although there are rare cases where it is not. The inner tie rod ends are attached to either end of the center link and provides pivot points for the steering gear. From there it goes to the outer tie rod ends through an adjustment sleeve. This sleeve joins the inner and outer tie rod ends together and allows for adjustment when the front wheels are aligned. The outer tie rod ends are connected to the steering knuckle that actually turns the front wheels. The steering knuckle has an upper and lower ball joint that it pivots on and creates the geometry of the steering axis.
Suspension Service At BRAKEmax Car Car CentersPosted April 12, 2012 1:47 PM
Suspension systems will continue to operate effectively for many years and tens of thousands of miles. Eventually vehicle components do wear out, but how long that takes depends a lot on how you drive in Tucson.
As you can imagine, if most of your driving is on smooth highways, your shock absorbers will last a lot longer than if you do most of your driving on bumpy roads or hauling heavy loads. In addition to just wearing out, suspension components can be damaged in an accident or by a hard impact – like a pothole, hitting a curb or a rock in the road. Because the life span of shocks can vary so widely, your manufacturer recommends periodic inspections. The Motorist Assurance Program (MAP) recommends replacing your shocks and/struts every 50,000 miles.
During an inspection at BRAKEmax Car Car Centers, your professorial service technician will check for worn, broken, or missing parts. Let me give a rundown of the major suspension components.
First there are the springs. The springs hold the weight of the vehicle. There are several kinds of springs. Springs are obviously heavy duty parts that can, but rarely break or wear out. Shock absorbers work in conjunction with springs to smooth out the ride and help keep the tires on the road. The shocks are key to handling performance, ride comfort, and stoping traction.
You’ve probably heard of struts. They combine a shock absorber and a coil spring in one unit. Shocks and struts will wear out over time. There are some signs that shocks or struts are wearing out. The tires may have a cupped wear pattern. This is from the shocks bouncing unevenly. You may notice a floaty or drifting sensation when cornering. If the front of your vehicle dives excessively when stopping, or rocks back and forth after you stopped, your shocks may be worn out. And if they are leaking fluid, it’s definitely time to replace them.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, visit BRAKEmax Car Car Centers for a suspension inspection. Same if you’ve been in an accident that involved one of your wheels. If your suspension actually fails, it could lead to a serious accident, so take care of these things.
When you replace your shocks, it’s usually a good idea to replace all four at the same time. That’ll give you more even handling. Talk with your BRAKEmax Car Car Centers service advisor because you don’t want a big difference between the performance of your shocks from wheel to wheel, and replacing all may be the safest bet.
There are different grades of shocks and struts. You always want to use a replacement shock or strut that equals the one that came as original equipment when your vehicle was new. But remember, they were designed to meet the expected needs of the broad range of people who buy that particular vehicle. Your needs may be more specialized.
For example if you want increased handling performance for your car, your professorial BRAKEmax Car Car Centers advisor can recommend an upgraded shock or strut to give you what you want. If you haul heavy loads or trailers, you can get a more heavy duty shock absorber.