What is MacPherson Strut Suspension in Cars: Benefits, Components and Working
Drawing its name from Earle S MacPherson, who was a famous car engineer from the US, the MacPherson Strut Suspension is a type of car suspension system extensively used in modern vehicles. It features a simple design and low manufacturing cost and has several advantages.
To know more about this suspension system, its working and its advantages, read through the following sections.
What is the MacPherson Strut Suspension?
MacPherson struts are a specific type of independent suspension found on a car's front axle. It replaces the steering rod and performs the functions of suspension and vibration dampening at the same time.
The system comprises a wishbone or a significant compression link balanced by a secondary link that serves as the bottom mounting point for the wheel's hub or axle. This lower arm design places the wheel both laterally and longitudinally.
How does the MacPherson Strut Suspension System Work?
- The MacPherson Strut features a simple construction that consists of a damper and a coil spring. The spring is first added to the system so that it can absorb shock energy caused by a sudden jerk on the road.
- Then, the shock absorber uses hydraulic fluid to release the heat this shock energy creates.
- Any unintended movements of the vehicle caused by problems with the road are effectively restrained when both of these setups function together in this suspension system.
What Are the 4 Components of the MacPherson Strut Suspension?
The key components of the MacPherson strut suspension include:
1. Strut Assembly
This is a combination of coil springs and shock absorbers and forms the main structural element of the system. This particular component is responsible for enduring road impacts and the vehicle’s weight.
2. Control Arm
Also referred to as A-arm or wishbone, this component links the steering knuckle to the vehicle’s body. This helps control the wheel assembly’s motion.
3. Steering Knuckle
This critical component links the vehicle’s strut assembly to the wheel hub and allows smooth steering movement.
4. Sway Bar
Also known as an anti-roll bar, the sway bar helps reduce body roll when the vehicle is cornering. It connects the suspension components to the sides of the vehicle.
What are the Advantages of MacPherson Strut Suspension?
- This suspension system contains few components as compared to other systems. This results in easy manufacturing and maintenance.
- Since the design of this suspension system is less complex, the repair and production cost is also less.
- The system has a small footprint, allowing efficient usage of space. This makes the MacPherson Strut Suspension system ideal for compact cars.
What are the Disadvantages of MacPherson Strut Suspension?
- It requires a strong top mount and more vertical space.
- According to geometrical analysis, this system fails to allow vertical wheel movement without some degree of sideways movement or change in camber angle.
- Typically, this suspension system affects a vehicle’s handling since it gives minimal opportunity to choose roll centre or camber change.
- It also tends to produce more noise and vibration.
What are the Top Vehicles with MacPherson Strut Suspension Systems?
This suspension system has been dominating the car market for decades. This system is installed in various types of vehicles, from passenger to luxury cars. A few popular vehicle models that come with this suspension system are:
- Honda Civic
- Ford Mustang
- BMW 3 series
- Toyota Corolla
It also has its applications on several performance cars. Certain upgraded components, including adjustable control arms, stiffer sway bars and performance coil covers, can enhance the system’s performance further.
How to Maintain the MacPherson Strut Suspension System?
To keep your MacPherson Strut Suspension system up and running, consider following these tips:
- Check your vehicle’s suspension parts frequently for wear or damage.
- To maintain performance and stop damage, replace worn-out or damaged parts as soon as possible.
- To guarantee even wear and extend the life of your tires, rotate and balance them frequently.
- To ensure optimum steering performance, perform wheel alignments as necessary.
When Should You Repair/Replace the MacPherson Strut Suspension?
You will know it's time to opt for a repair when your vehicle exhibits the following symptoms:
- Leaking struts
- Sagging coil springs
- Damaged arm bushings
- Issues with the sway bar
What Are the Innovations and Future Trends in Suspension Designs?
With time, several innovations are coming around in the suspension system. Find about them below:
Active Suspension Systems
The suspension is continuously adjusted in real-time through the use of electronic sensors and actuators. Thus, it provides the vehicle with optimal handling, ride comfort, and stability.
Improved vehicle efficiency and range result from new materials and inventive designs that strive to lower the weight of suspension parts without compromising on performance.
Adaptive Damping Technologies
Adaptive damping technologies like electronic or magnetorheological controlled dampers are becoming popular in the automotive industry. These systems are capable of adjusting damping characteristics as per the driving conditions. This allows a comfortable driving experience with better handling and precision.
With time, modern suspension systems might come into play. However, the compact nature and simple engineering of the MacPherson Strut Suspension have remained a top choice among top vehicle manufacturers worldwide.