What is a Car Suspension System?
The roads are not the same everywhere. They are smooth somewhere, offering a comfortable ride. In others, they can be full of bumpers and potholes. To overcome this and ensure a smooth ride irrespective of the road type, a proper car suspension system is extremely important.
Scroll through to get an idea of how a car suspension system protects you from accidents.
How Does a Car Suspension System Work?
car suspension works mainly on the principle of conversion of friction to heat. This is not done in a single step but is a multi-step process. There are two types of springs in a suspension that acts as a cushion when your vehicle bounces frequently. These springs function to store energy.
Dampers convert this energy to heat. They act as shock absorbers containing small holes and specialized oil. The kinetic energy stored in the spring gets converted to heat energy. Nowadays, a combination of dampers and springs are used to provide maximum protection.
What Does a Car Suspension Do?
A car suspension performs the following function:
- Helps car to move smoothly on-road as well as in off-road conditions
- Prevents toppling off of cars at high speeds.
- Prevents premature wearing of car parts.
- Aids in turning the vehicle
- Reduces the effect of shocks
They mainly perform the above function by converting kinetic energy to heat energy. This heat energy is then dissipated via the hydraulic fluid present, thus preventing the car parts from overheating.
Why Is a Car Suspension System Important?
Car suspensions are extremely important to safeguard you and your vehicle from accidents. It provides stability to your vehicle when you drive them at a higher speed.
They also play a key role in maintaining the wheel alignment of your vehicle to avoid rolling over. Additionally, a car suspension restricts the wearing of your vehicle's tyres before time. Another major advantage of suspension is that they ensure passengers' comfort during the journey.
What Are the Parts of a Car Suspension?
Components of car suspension are as follows:
- Springs or coils: They play a major role in shock absorption. Additionally, they provide protection to the vehicle against toppling at high speed.
- Shock absorber or damper: They diminish the vibrations to a greater extent and prevent bouncing at high speeds. These are the primary components that absorb shocks by converting kinetic energy to heat energy. Hence, they are filled with oil to keep them cool throughout.
- Knuckle arm: They connect the wheel to a suspension, serving as their meeting point.
- Ball joint: They help a vehicle to take smooth turns.
What Are the Types of Car Suspension?
The types of car suspension systems are as follows:
1. Macpherson Suspension
Simple design, ease of control, providing comfort, and less space consumption is the main reasons behind its popularity. It consists of a steering knuckle, a damper, and a track control arm.
2. Rigid Suspension–Leaf spring
They are extremely suitable for a commercial vehicle since they have the ability to support a lot of weight. However, they neither assist in smooth cornering nor provides comfort at high speed.
3. Multi-Link Suspension
They are mostly used in off-road vehicles as they have a high potential to adjust to any force they encounter. Once damaged, repairing them is extremely expensive. Hence, it is only present in premium cars.
4. Rigid Axle Suspension
Repairing and replacing these suspensions are extremely easy due to their simple structure. These occupy extremely less space and can support an extensive load. Hence, these are a popular choice for off-road load–bearing vehicles.
5. Trailing Arm Suspension
These can be bent easily and hence stands to be an extremely unpopular choice for heavy vehicles. However, they are well suited for the rear wheels of lightweight vehicles.
6. Air Suspension
They use air bellows in place of dampers in which you can easily fill air using an air compressor. With the aid of a computer, they can become extremely adaptive and can easily adjust to any height or load.
7. Double Wishbone Suspension
It is so named because it consists of two "A" – shaped arms that look almost like a wishbone. They are extremely comfortable, stable, and agile and serve as a popular choice for the modified version of race cars or luxury cars.
Different Car Suspension Problems and Ways to Identify Them
Suspension consists of several moving parts. Hence, it is natural that they wear out after prolonged usage. Also, at times vehicles can come across sudden shocks on the road that might damage the entire system or certain parts of it. At those times, a suspension provides several indications to draw your notice towards the problem.
These indications include:
- Hearing continuous loud squeaks as soon as your car crosses a bumper.
- Facing difficulty in steering even at lower speeds.
- Had a bumpy ride even on encountering even a small obstruction.
- Problem in taking turns as the car drifts on one side.
- A sudden lowering of one side of the car compared to the other side when parked.
- Wearing off a tyre is an indication of a suspension problem.
Car suspension plays a key role in protecting you from accidents while providing you with a comfortable ride. Hence, it becomes essential to contact a mechanic or deposit the car in a garage for proper servicing once you start noticing the signals. Any negligence in this can prove to be expensive and may even be fatal.