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If you’ve ever asked how car suspensions work, you’re probably not alone! The purpose of the car’s suspension is to increase friction levels between the road and tires, in order to provide powerful steering and stability. If the driver can’t control the car, and if the suspension isn’t level, what good is powerful HP (horsepower), torque, and a roaring engine? Now that you know what the suspension’s purpose is, what types are there?
How Car Suspensions Work
There are various aspects to a car suspension. Below we will discuss the types of car suspension as well as what a car suspension does so hopefully you have a clear understanding of your vehicle’s suspension.
Types of Car Suspension
There are two primary types of suspension which are independent and dependent. This basically describes how the mechanisms work together in your car, to help control the steering, increase stability, and increase traction on the road.
In these systems, the axles aren’t shared, they are independently attached to the car’s subframe or its body. Wheels are suspended individually in these systems while the car is in drive. Each wheel travels independently up and down, and the shock absorber and spring suspension are bolted onto metal frames.
Some of these systems include a wishbone instead of a suspension arm. Proper alignment and suspension of each independent system is essential for the car’s proper movement, stability, and control. Some benefits of independent suspension include
- Each wheel has its own moving parts.
- Individual absorption is achieved, to help minimize impact on bumpy roads.
- Front and rear wheel suspension designs are in place, to optimize performance, handling, and maneuverability in cars with independent suspension.
As the name implies, dependent suspension units work in combination (they’re dependent) with something else. Tires are dependent on one another in these systems in order for the car to move. Focus is placed on being on the same angle as each other, as opposed to the angle of the road. This is one of the biggest detractors of the dependent system. The tires focus on working in conjunction with one another, as opposed to focusing on twists and turns of the road.
There are, however, some benefits to these suspension systems including
- There’s less maintenance (two versus four systems)
- They’re better for roads with harsh topography or uneven terrains
- Fewer parts to maintain/replace
One of the primary drawbacks is that bumps are going to be felt throughout the entire length of the car, as opposed to just one tire, which is the case with independent suspension systems.
What a Car’s Suspension Does
So, why is your car’s suspension so important and why do you have to maintain it? Some reasons include
- Proper levels of suspension increase the driver’s control of the vehicle.
- Wear and tear are accelerated in other areas of your vehicle if the suspension isn’t level.
- Premature tire wear occurs with unleveled suspension.
- Swaying, bounce, and other maneuverability issues are persistent when the car’s suspension is off.
- Shocks, struts, and other (costly) parts break down more easily if the suspension isn’t level.
Depending on the make, manufacture, and age of your vehicle, the suspension system that’s in place will vary. Regardless of whether it’s dependent or independent, it’s important to properly maintain it, perform routine service, and pay attention to your car’s handling and maneuverability, in order to address any possible issues with the suspension that you can repair before they become of major concern.Hopefully you now understand how car suspensions work. The car’s suspension is going to increase friction between the road and your tires, and produce the smoothest, most balanced drive. Because of this, the suspension has to be leveled to ensure safety, operability, and seamless control for drivers at all times. From air suspension to lift suspension, you can choose a type of suspension you want for your vehicle.