The type of suspension springs affect your driving experience in relation to comfort, vehicle stability, handling and shock absorption. The suspension system is an essential vehicle component which consists of a number of parts.
Car suspension parts names list.
The parts of the front suspension system vary from the rear suspension. That’s because the front suspension system handles the engine’s weight and is responsible for housing the ride control system.
Whereas the rear suspension handles load weight and maintains a level of stability for the vehicle. This is not the only difference within the car suspension system.
There are different types of vehicle suspension systems that exist; yet they all serve the same purpose. One of their differences is the spring rate that you experience when you drive over bumps or uneven terrain.
This affects the level of vibration absorption therefore, it affects the ride’s level of comfort. Additionally, the level of weight support capacity varies from one type of suspension system to the other.
The types of suspension systems are inclusive of the following;
- Double wishbone suspension.
- Trailing arm suspension.
- Multilink suspension.
- MacPherson strut suspension.
- Independent suspension.
The following are the parts of the suspension system;
a]. Shock absorbers.
Their function within the suspension system assembly is to regulate the distance travelled by the suspension. Whereby, the shock absorbers dissipate the energy that comes from the suspension’s movement. Therefore, they provide a smooth ride when the car drives over uneven surfaces.
b]. Control arms.
They are also known as wishbones or A-arms due to their design. They are part of the front suspension system. Therefore, they regulate the up and down movement of the front wheels when driving over uneven surfaces.
Additionally, control arms are able to regulate the up and down movement of the suspension by the help of control arm bushings. The control arm bushing guard against metal to metal contact when the arm is moving up and down alongside the wheels.
Further, they form a critical component of the car’s steering system. Therefore, they allow the driver steer the car towards where they desire it to go.
Further, control arms act as suspension linkage by connecting it to the car’s chassis. Therefore, they provide stability to the vehicle’s body by preventing intense swinging during cornering.
c]. Sway bar.
This part of the suspension system is also known as a stabilizer bar or anti-roll bar. As the name suggests, the sway bar reduces the chances of the vehicle rolling during cornering.
The sway bar connects the left side of the suspension to the right side. Therefore, during cornering, it transfers force from the left side to the right side and vise versa.
d]. Suspension strut.
The suspension strut is of importance because it supports load weight when the vehicle is carrying heavy loads. Further, the suspension strut also minimizes the movement of the suspension when driving over uneven road surfaces.
They help to prevent some suspension system problems that may occur as a result of intense friction from the suspension system movements. Bushings are made from strong rubber or polyurethane material.
Further, bushings are located between the moving suspension parts in order to act as cushioning and friction reduction elements. Some of the suspension parts that have bushings are inclusive of control arms.
Types of suspension springs.
Some Manufacturers will produce their vehicles and fit suspension springs that provide the ultimate driving comfort. Further, if you are aiming at a comfortable driving experience, it is possible to undertake a suspension system upgrade by installing aftermarket suspension springs.
Some terrains require you to install suspension springs that are suitable to handle the up and down movement of the tires. The springs usually act as absorbers for the movements caused by driving on different terrains.
The following classifications of suspension springs offer different levels of absorption.
a]. Lowered springs.
A good lowered spring usually affects the vehicles center of gravity by improving it. This gives the vehicle better stability and control during cornering.
Additionally, they will change the spring rate hence offering more comfort. That’s why vehicles with low ground clearance don’t carry heavy loads due to the reduction of the suspension spring travel distance.
Further, these springs improve the car’s performance by minimizing the effects of air drag. However, it is recommended that you talk to a vehicle suspension specialist before installing these aftermarket springs.
b]. Coil over springs.
This type of suspension springs largely affects the vehicle’s performance. Because coil over springs allow for the adjustment of the vehicle’s ground clearance.
Further, they impact the comfort of the ride no matter the terrain you drive on. This is because they absorb the shock that’s generated by the up and down movement of the tires when driving over uneven terrain.
Coil over suspension is a modern type of suspension system spring made using the best technology. Coil over springs are equipped with compression damping shock absorber.
This is for better dissipation of energy that comes from up and down wheel movement. Hence the reason they are fitted in the new car models. You will find them in the back of almost all the latest car models.
Additionally, you will find that these coil over springs are preferred among the high-performance vehicles. They are used both at the front and back of these performance vehicles.
c]. Coil Springs.
Coil springs are made from a metallic helical shape spring. Their design allows them to store energy from the up and down movement of wheels and then dissipate it.
This spring maintains energy between two contracting bodies. Further, they are a type of compression spring that contract when loaded and return to the original shape when unloaded.
These are very common in most vehicle suspension systems. They are commonly located on the front suspension between the lower and upper control arms.
Manufacturers have not made these types of vehicle suspension system springs for comfort. Additionally, they are known for supporting heavy weights and absorbing the up down movement of the car.
They are commonly found within the smaller cars without high ground clearance. The type of cars whose loading capacity is limited to a few thousand tons.
d]. Leaf springs.
This is a common type of vehicle suspension spring that is found in older car models. However, newer model cars that carry heavy loads have different types of leaf springs.
The leaf springs are great at supporting heavy loads. Therefore, they are mostly used in the rear suspension. That’s why they are found in most commercial vehicles.
They prevent extreme up and down movement of the vehicle by allowing little rebound effects of the terrain. Leaf springs look like long strips of metal that are mounted on top of each other.
These types of springs offer a level of comfort when driving. Because they minimize the movement of the suspension system alongside the wheels when driving over uneven terrain.
e]. Torsion bars.
Their design allows them to mimic the performance of the coil springs. They have a metal bar rod that offers load support and its length determines the vehicle’s ground clearance.
It connects to suspension components on one end and to the car’s frame on the other. Further, it runs across the vehicles width.
Due to its design, the torsion bar offers resistance during the up and down movement of the suspension. Therefore, this improves the comfort of the ride.
In order to get better ride comfort, you may adjust the diameter and length of the torsion bar. This affects the torsion bar’s spring rate. Doing so also affects the vehicle’s handling and control capacity.
Another advantage of the torsion bar is that it saves a lot of room in the car’s suspension system. Further, it offers a reduction of the vehicle’s weight. A disadvantage is that it does not allow for flexibility during bumps.
e]. Air Springs.
Air suspension system springs are a modern innovation in the vehicle’s suspension system. The entire idea behind its design relies on the air’s capability to absorb impact.
Their operation relies on compressed air to support vehicle weight. They are a type of shock absorber spring that uses inflatable bellows placed between the car’s axle frame and the suspension components.
Adjustment in air pressure of these springs determines the vehicle’s height and the stiffness of the suspension. This determines the travel distance of the suspension system when driving over uneven terrain.
These types of springs are common in luxury cars. Therefore, despite the terrain you drive over, the feeling is like the car is gliding on air above bumps.
The disadvantage is that these springs tend to malfunction more frequently than the other types of springs.
Which parts of the suspension need to be replaced?
Car suspension system maintenance involves more than cleaning the suspension system parts to prevent rust and dirt accumulation. It also involves replacing any worn out parts in order to prevent further damage.
a]. Shock absorbers.
When shock absorbers are worn out, you will experience a very uncomfortable ride. They reduce the bumpiness of the uneven terrains therefore they must be replaced.
Problems within the struts may come from worn out bushings and leakage. Therefore, they need replacement otherwise their continued use puts other suspension components at risk of getting damaged.
c]. Control arms.
When there is a lot of noise within the front suspension, check the condition of the control arms. Common issues within the control arms are worn out bushings, bending or worn out ball joints.
d]. Sway bar links.
They are responsible for connecting the anti-roll bar to the suspension components. Sway bar links tend to wear out over time especially if you drive off-road a lot of times. This may reduce the level of vehicle control when negotiating corners. Therefore, ensure that you repair them incase they’re worn out.
Bushings are a very important suspension system component because they allow for a longer suspension system lifespan. This is because they act as cushions and friction reduction elements. Therefore, worn out bushings are a risk to other suspension system components.
f]. Ball joints.
In order to know if you have worn out ball joints, check the tire wear, listen for noise around the wheels and loss of steering accuracy. Ball joints connect the steering knuckle and other suspension components to the control arms. The ball joints tend to be worn out over a period of time.
Other components of the suspension system that may need replacement are inclusive of;
- Tie rods.
- Wheel bearings.