Steering & Suspension
As your vehicle suspension wears out gradually, you may not notice any problems until the system fails. It's important to have your suspension system checked periodically to ensure your driving comfort and safety.
Steering and Suspension Warning Signs:
A vehicle with defective shock absorbers can take as much as 2.6 metres extra to stop in an emergency - perhaps the difference between driving past an accident or being in one.
- Your car is hard to steer, the steering system may need lubrication or repair, or there may be a problem with the power steering unit.
- The steering feels loose steering linkage parts may be worn.
- Your vehicle pulls to one side may indicate worn steering or linkage parts, improperly inflated tires, wheels out of alignment or that brakes are dragging.
- If your steering wheel jerks it could be a loose steering belt, low power steering fluid or a problem with the steering pump.
- A vibrating steering wheel could mean the tires need balancing or steering parts are worn.
Steering and shock absorbers are vital for safe braking.Book Appointment
Car Steering Problems
Steering Warning Signs
- The car is hard to steer. The steering linkage may need lubrication or repairs or there might be a problem with the power steering unit.
- The steering feels loose. In this case the steering linkage parts may be worn and need replacement.
- The vehicle is pulling to the side. Culprits could be worn steering linkage parts, under or over inflated tires, wheels being out of alignment or brakes that are ‘dragging’.
- The steering wheel jerks. This could be from a loose steering belt, low power steering fluid or a problem with the steering pump.
- The steering wheel vibrates. The tires could need rebalancing or steering parts may be worn and need replacing.
Your steering system consists of a series of components (links and gears) that connect the driver from the steering wheel to the wheels. There are two types of steering systems you’re your vehicle may use - parallelogram and rack-and-pinion.
Today most vehicles also have some power assistance such as variable effort steering to help with parking at low speeds and electronic power steering.
The parallelogram steering system consists a steering gearbox, pitman arm, relay arm and inner and outer tie rod-ends. This type of system is used on most rear wheel drive cars.
The rack-and-pinion system eliminates the pitman arm, relay rod and idler arm and is therefore lighter. This system is ideally suited to front wheel drive vehicles. This gives the driver a better feeling of the road, but it can also mean greater noise and vibration may be felt.
If your vehicle is hard to steer, if there is excessive steering wheel free-play or if you feel a vibration or jerking sensation in the steering wheel, a Speedy Auto Service steering specialist will help diagnose the problem.
Car Suspension Services
Suspension Warning Signs
- Does your car continue to bounce long after you hit a bump or when you stop quickly?
- Does your car dip when you apply the brake?
- Does your car lean or roll to one side when you corner?
- Are your tires wearing faster than normal or unevenly?
- Does your steering wheel vibrate when you hit a bump?
- Do you hear rattling or thumping sounds from any of your wheels when you hit a bump?
Your suspension system provides stability to the steering system and maximizes your driving comfort. Worn components may reduce the stability of your vehicle, reduce driver control and contribute to accelerated wear on other suspension components and tires.
Your car’s suspension system performs six basic functions:
- Maintain correct vehicle height
- Absorb bumps for a more comfortable ride
- Maintain correct wheel alignment to lessen tire wear
- Support vehicle weight
- Maintain road contact for increased stability, braking and control
- Control the vehicle's direction when moving
Shock absorbers are commonly used on cars and light trucks with standard suspension systems. Without shocks your vehicle would continually bounce and make it difficult to control.
Shock absorbers not provide a better ride but they help keep all four tires on the road for better stability and control. Make sure your shock absorbers are inspected by a licensed technician if they have been driven more than 80,000 kilometers.
Struts, like shock absorbers, dampen the movement of the springs as they compress and rebound.
Struts affect riding comfort and handling as well as vehicle control, braking, steering, wheel alignment and tire wear. Again, it is recommended that you have your struts checked by a licensed technician if they have been driven 80,000 kilometers or more.
What's the Difference between Shocks and Struts?
The difference between struts and shocks and that is that struts are a structural component of the car’s suspension system, while shocks are not. Struts provide structural support for the vehicles suspension, support the spring and hold the tire in an aligned position. If a strut is replaced, it is therefore vital to do an alignment as well.
Vehicles are designed to use either shocks or struts and they are not interchangeable. However, occasionally cars will have struts on the rear and shocks on the front.
Money Saving Tip: When having your suspension serviced it’s a good idea to have the mounting plate and mounting bolts inspected along with other parts that are designed to protect the strut or shock such as the jounce bumper and dust boot. Not only will you save yourself from paying for the same labour charges again, but you will be protecting your investment in new parts.
Springs perform three functions:
- Support the weight of the vehicle
- Maintain ride height
- Absorb road shock caused by bumps (and dips) the road
There are two types of springs that may be used. Coil springs is the most common and may be used at both the front and rear of the vehicle; while the Leaf spring is made of several steel plates of different lengths and is commonly used at the rear of the vehicle.
Ride height measurements not within manufacturer’s specifications will necessitate replacement. In addition, it is very important that you replace the springs when needed or you’ll likely end up with a host of other problems including accelerated tire wear, handling problems and wear and tear on other suspension components.