Last time out, the various safety features associated with modern day automobiles were dealt with. However, the whole gamut of safety won’t be completely analysed without considering the suspension system as a very vital safety aspect of a car.
Keeping a car, truck or other vehicle running safely and efficiently requires a certain amount of routine maintenance. Most owners know that they are supposed to get their oil changed periodically, but what about the suspension – what routine maintenance does it need?
The parts of a vehicle that keeps it connected to the road from the tyres up, are collectively referred to as the suspension. The suspension supports the vehicle, but it does much more than that; a good suspension allows a car to ride smoothly over bumps, to turn safely and reliably, and to maintain its balance during emergency manoeuvres. It’s components include:
– Shock absorbers- Ball joints- Tyres- Tie rods- Lower and Upper arms- Drive shafts- Axle- Power steering rack- Sway bar and – Stabilizer linkages.
Since it’s one of the most durable components of a vehicle, the suspension system doesn’t get a lot of attention.
The following tips are vital to avoid unexpected breakdowns and costly repairs:
1. Have the tyres rotated on schedule – At least, once in every 15,000 – 20,000 mileage, rotate your tyres to ensure they wear down evenly. With uneven wear, you will experience vibrations and bouncing while driving, which increases the chances of wear and tear in the shock absorbers.
2. Regularly check tyre pressure: Regular usage and changes in outdoor temperature cause tyre pressure to fluctuate. At least, once a week check that the tyres are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended PSI.
3. Monitor the shock absorbers: When the shocks starts to go bad, you will notice signs while driving. If you feel excessive bounce when going around a corner, it’s a sign that your vehicle needs a repair. The absorbers been worn out to the point where they can no longer keep the car level while turning or going over bumps. If they aren’t given attention, they will eventually fail.
4. Wheel balancing and alignment: Wheel balance corrects uneven distribution of weight. Imbalanced wheels can lead to vibrations on the highway, excessive tyre wear and damage to suspension components.
Alignment refers to adjustment of a car suspension. This keeps your car from veering to the right or left. It can also improve the handling of your vehicle and stop unusual on – the – road vibrations. Due to the bad nature of our roads, always schedule an appointment once a month for a complete wheel service.
5. Service the Joints: During every oil change, ask your mechanic to look at the suspension system joints. They are responsible for keeping the steering knocked and control arms moving efficiently. Look into the vehicle owner’s manual for replacements of this vital part (ball joint).
6. Inspect suspension after collision: Cars can receive major damage even from low speed collision. Sometimes thee is no cosmetic damage, but the suspension may have been affected. Wheels can be knocked out of alignment, springs can break and bearings can crack.
Finally, have an experienced auto engineer inspect the system if any unusual vehicle handling experience is noticed and have them fixed as soon as possible before they get worse.
Written by Adeniyi Balogun