5 Common Signs of Suspension Damage

May 28th, 2024 by

5 Common Signs of Suspension Damage

Picture this: you’re cruising in your Wrangler after a day of running trails, when all of a sudden, you realize your ride just isn’t quite right. Maybe you’re getting a little extra jiggle, or you’re not tracking straight, or you hear a weird noise. Either way, it’s looking like your car’s suspension is out of whack.

Suspension is crucial—it keeps you between the lines on the road, and it supports your vehicle’s immense weight, making it one of the hardest working components of your car. If you have a problem with your suspension, you ought to know the signs, so let’s list off a few common ones here.

A Bumpy Ride

If your suspension is out of whack, one of the first things you may notice is that your car generally rides rougher than usual. It can be especially pronounced on less-than-perfect roads, but you may notice it even on pristine tarmac.

Providing a smooth driving experience is one of the main functions of your suspension, but sometimes, it can be difficult to notice your car riding rougher over time. This particular issue can tend to develop slowly throughout tens of thousands of miles, which is why it’s a good idea to have your car checked and tested on a semi-regular basis.

You can also test for this by yourself without having to take it to a shop. Simply park the car on a flat surface and push down firmly on the rear bumper. If the suspension is working properly, your ride should snap back to its usual ride height quickly. However, if you notice it bouncing or rocking back and forth, bring it into a shop.

Shaky or Uneven Steering

Your suspension system is linked directly to your steering wheel, so any noticeable changes in how your vehicle steers are a common sign of suspension problems.

The issue can be presented in a couple of different ways. You may notice the wheel vibrating on totally smooth roads, or it might pull slightly to the left or right when you try to track straight—either one of these should be a warning sign to make sure the car’s suspension is even.

It should be noted that steering problems can be caused by issues besides suspension. For instance, it could be an issue with your power steering system or improper wheel alignment. If you notice your steering going haywire, it’s important to have all of these things checked.

Uneven Tire Wear

A big part of your suspension’s job is to hold the wheels and tires firmly in place. If part of your suspension is faulty, you may notice that the tires wear out faster than usual, or they wear out in weird or unexpected places. Individual tires should wear out evenly, without any pronounced bald spots or “cupping,” which looks like a scoop taken out of the tread rubber.

Examining your tires regularly is a crucial aspect of car ownership. Uneven wear will eventually lead to expensive tire replacement before their time, and driving with improper tread is incredibly unsafe, especially in rainy or snowy conditions. As long as you’re keeping them properly rotated, all four of your tires should wear out at roughly the same pace.

Strange Noises

Obviously, any weird new noises coming from your car’s undercarriage are cause for concern. Certain noises can spell potential disaster for the suspension system.

When diagnosing noises from your suspension, the timing and type of noise are crucial. Squeaking or clunking when you go over a bump is often a dead giveaway. You may also hear a rattling, which can be a sign of bad shocks or struts, or a grinding noise, which can indicate bad wheel bearings.

Leaking Fluid

Finding random liquid underneath your car is never a good thing. Most folks tend to blame the problem on leaky engine oil or coolant or brakes, but it could also be coming from your car’s suspension.

A suspension leak can develop from the shock absorbers, which are filled with a hydraulic fluid that maintains a certain amount of pressure inside the system, thereby absorbing the shock from any bumps on the road. If these shock absorbers fail, the internal fluid can leak all over the place. A leaky suspension will likely go hand in hand with a bumpier ride.

Shock absorber leaks may be difficult to spot to the untrained eye because sometimes there isn’t enough fluid to form a visible puddle. Instead, you may simply notice a residue on the shocks, struts, and control arms. Alternatively, a leak may not even be present until the vehicle is lifted in the shop.

Schedule Suspension Repair in Birmingham

Do you notice your Jeep isn’t riding like it used to? You may be due for an auto repair, especially if you recently went off-roading. Give us a call at (205) 502-2772 to contact our certified service department, and be sure to ask about our service specials and coupons.

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