When most people think of automobile performance, they typically think of horsepower, torque, and acceleration. What some people fail to realize, is that the power generated by the engine is useless if the driver cannot control the vehicle. Hence why engineers quickly turned their attention towards suspension systems soon after the four-stroke engine was mastered. The job of a vehicles suspension is to soak up the bumps in the road, keeping you comfortable and safe by allowing your brakes and tires to work as designed.
Suspension is ground zero when it comes to abuse from the road; the parts wear out, and even break. If you don’t feel that ride that you loved so much when you got your car, there may be a problem down below. When suspension starts to fail, it can pose multiple dangerous problems. With poor suspension parts, wheels can “jump”. The wheel will have less contact time with the ground, reducing handling, acceleration, and braking efficiency.
Have you noticed your car nose-diving when stopping? It may be a tell-tale sign that you need to inspect your suspension. This issue can affect your ability to quickly stop the vehicle, and a bad suspension can increase stop time by up to 20 percent!
Not only can bad suspension affect your safety and performance, but it can also affect you financially. Often times we blame the tire if it goes bad, when in fact it can be caused by the suspension. There is an extremely direct correlation between tire wear and suspension condition. Tire wear stemming from your suspension is almost always caused by excess movement somewhere in the system. There are many different types of tire wear (camber wear, cupped wear, toe wear, etc.), and each type can help pinpoint the culprit.
Aside from new tires burning a hole in your pocket, you might even notice you aren’t getting the gas mileage your used to. Suspension issues can cause an alignment condition that will cause the wheels to drag rather than tracking a straight line. Remember the wheel “jump” mentioned earlier on? That can also, for a number of reasons, have a negative impact on your motors efficiency, which in turn negatively impacts your fuel efficiency. This is especially true for front wheel drive vehicles; because the struts have lost their intended purpose, they will fail to keep the weight distributed properly, thus causing the car to shift to the back. Less weight on the front wheels means less grip, which means more power, or gas, to move forward.
Statistics show that shocks and struts measurably degrade at 50,000 miles, which is the mileage that experts recommend replacing them at. If you are starting to experience rough handling, nose dives, body roll, or even your car bottoming out, we highly recommend to have your struts inspected by a professional TODAY!