With all of the harsh relentless elements and modern day stresses continually bombarding our roads we must accept that no road will ever be void of bumps and obstructions for very long. As such proper suspension and steering equipment is necessary on all vehicles.
Suspension parts refer to the pieces on your vehicle which dampen the jolt of bumps, cracks, lumps, and holes on the road. Not only is it the suspensions job to lessen the effects of these obstacles but also it is the job of the suspension to make sure your tires stay in constant contact with the surface while also supporting the weight of the vehicle itself. The chassis is the frame of the vehicle and the suspension is affixed to it. The suspension system is designed to deteriorate instead of the frame. Weakened suspension accounts for a rough ride over obstacles and can result in a vehicle's loss of contact with the road. When you lose contact you are unable to steer/accelerate/brake and effectively lose control of the vehicle. The suspension accounts for the vehicle and its passengers weight, actual riding height and ground clearance as well as absorbing shock and stability against weight transfer forces.
The average suspension system is comprised of 4 springs/shock absorbing units situated in and around the wheel area affixed to the chassis or a control arm which then itself is fixed to the chassis. A shock absorber is a sealed cylinder filled with oils and gasses that contain a moving piston. This piston move up and down through this medium of oil and gas and forms the resistance necessary to dampen shock and control the energy stored in the spring. Over time the seals in these cylinders leak and the oil and gasses escape requiring replacement. These 4 areas have grown to include specialised equipment that work in conjunction to more effectively support and maintain control. The spring options are coiled steel springs, leaf springs and torsion bar. On everyday vehicles for commuting standard shock absorbers and strut assemblies are paired with coil springs.
Light duty trucks commonly use leaf springs or torsion bars. Leaf springs are long pieces of bowed steel stacked one on top of the other that flex to absorb shock. Torsion bar while usually an older design on light duty trucks and cars can be found on some vehicles still today. Torsion bars use a steel bar that twists on a lever keeping a constant pressure on the bar thus acting like a spring. Along with the springs, shock absorbers and control arms, the smaller less obvious yet still vital portions like ball joints, bushings, and stabilizer links all contribute to the vehicle's weight balance, stability and ability to follow the ever changing contours of the road ahead.
As mentioned previously steering is only possible if we have contact with the surface. Once that is accounted for we can then stress the necessity for the steering components which closely tie into the suspensions equipment. The steering equipment allows your wheels to turn in either direction in order to follow a desired path. It is usually run by a steering gear which takes the rotation from your steering wheel and translates it into the turning of the front wheels. When steering becomes an issue in terms of wondering direction or loss of precise control both the suspension and steering equipment must be inspected. A wheel alignment can correct both steering and minor suspension issues. These issues would be a result of shifted/wearing components and may require further attention to correct vehicle alignment.
All of these components wear under normal use which is why Lorelli’s recommends 2 inspections every year. These are best paired with tire changes and wheel alignments in the fall and spring seasons.