How to identify car suspension system problems | causes

Car suspension system problems are a rare occurrence unless you haven’t been conducting frequent maintenance. Alternatively, if you recently had an accident, the suspension system could become damaged.

It’s hard to be suspicious of having suspension system problems without knowing what to look out for. Today we are going to explore the issues that could hinder proper operations within the vehicle’s suspension.

The automotive suspension’s function includes driving comfort, weight handling and enhancing control ability. Not only does the worn out suspension affect these things but it also affects braking capability. Hence pausing a safety hazard to you and other people on the road.

1. Pulling to one side when driving.

Problematic front suspension system components are one of the causes of the car pulling to one side when driving. In this case, we are talking about the shock absorbers or center bearing.

Additionally, this could be a problem that is coming from your tires alignment being off. Pay attention to your tire tread to assess how they are wearing out. If they aren’t wearing out evenly then your tires need alignment.

And it is safe for you to disqualify a faulty suspension system as the cause of your car pulling to one side.

But if you resolve the tire alignment issue and you still notice that the car is pulling to one side, assess the shock absorbers. Additionally, go further to check the ball joints, center bearing or control arms.

2. Extra bumpy ride.

A faulty suspension will not be able to accomplish its basic role of offering ride comfort. The suspension system springs play an important role in reducing the up and down movement caused by bumps.

The moment your ride becomes bumpy, there is a problem with your struts, dumpers and sway bars. These suspension system components play the role of reducing too much bumpiness when driving over a bumps.

Conduct the bounce test, whereby you put your weight down on the vehicle’s bonnet. Release the vehicle and count how many times it bounces. The car shouldn’t bounce more than thrice. Otherwise, there is a problem with the struts or shock absorbers

3. Leakages.

If your vehicle is equipped with dampers, shock absorbers and struts this is what you should look out for. The dampers, shock absorbers and struts are usually sealed with oil inside a chamber.

Oil makes the reduction of vibrations possible by reducing the magnitude. This process takes place by turning vibrations into kinetic energy which produces heat.

Loss of this oil will not allow for reduction in vibrations. Use a clean white cloth to wipe around the seals as a method of inspection. The reason for using a white cloth is so that you can determine the color of the fluid incase you detect it. Remember the fluid could be water.

4. Car is low on one side.

This is an easy to spot symptom of a problematic suspension system. Because you will also hear some clunking noise under the wheel wells when you hit a bump. Observe this noise incase you fail to notice the vehicle sitting low on one side.

Some vehicles are set to be sitting lower on one side than the other side. For example, race cars. But there is a problem when the car seats at an odd angle.

The cause of this problem could be a worn out or damaged suspension system spring.

Before concluding that the springs or other suspension system parts are damaged, ensure that your tires are inflated and aligned properly. Afterwards, perform the bouncing test by placing your entire weight on the car’s bonnet and then releasing.

Next, observe the number of times the vehicle bounces and ensure that it doesn’t exceed three bounces. Secondly, pay attention to the sounds coming from the springs during the bounce test. If you hear a creaking or squealing sound then your suspension system is problematic.

5. Excessive rocking.

You will observe this rocking motion during three occasions. That is when you hit brakes, negotiate a corner or when you accelerate.

During braking, the car will nose dive forwards. Secondly, it will sway sideways when you negotiate corners and lastly it will move backwards when you hit the brakes.

This movement indicate that essential parts of your suspension system are not working properly. These parts are inclusive of the sway bars, dumpers, struts or shock absorbers.

You can perform the bounce test when you observe these drastic movements. You will need to pay close attention to sounds produced during this bounce test. Further observe the number of times the vehicle bounces in order to diagnose this issue.

6. Steering difficulty.

The steering wheel should be quite steady when you are driving on a straight road. Further, the steering wheel should feel quite easy especially when driving at reasonably low speeds.

If it feels quite difficult during low speeds then the problem could be coming from the suspension or steering system.

Steering system problems.

  • Faulty power steering pump.
  • Low power steering fluid.
  • Leaking power steering rack assembly.
  • Worn out control arm bushings.

Symptoms of steering difficulty.

  • Car changes course of its own accord when you hit a bump or pot hole.
  • The car veers to one side during corner negotiation.
  • When you have to over-correct as the vehicle is catching a veer counter to the direction of travel.
  • Steering wheel is resisting your input.

7. Noise sounds of suspension problems.

In general, it is important for drivers to pay attention to any sounds originating from the vehicle. Though there are occasions whereby the vehicle makes normal sounds.

Further observing the moments during which the vehicle suspension system makes noises will be beneficial. For example, during brake application, jumping bumps or while accelerating.

  • A failed strut, dumper or shock absorber makes deep low clunking noise.
  • A problematic spring will produce a muffled thud because the car is bottoming up while going over bumps.
  • Worn out rubber stops will cause parts to smash against each other hence producing a loud crushing noise.
  • You will observe loud clunking or squeaking noises when the car goes over the bump.

Share your thoughts