What is the purpose of my steering & suspension systems?
Your steering system and suspension system are two separate systems that work in tandem to keep your car under control.
The suspension system supports the weight of your vehicle, provides a smooth ride and creates stable road control, drivability and handling.
The steering system provides directional control of your car. In a way, your steering system selects the direction of the suspension system and the car simply follows along as it is riding atop of the suspension system.
Why should I have my steering & suspension inspected?
Normal driving and conditions create wear and tear on your suspension and steering systems. All of the components that make up those systems such as struts, shocks, control arm bushings, ball joints, coil springs and steering linkage will wear and weaken over time. This wear creates instability in road handling, excessive tire wear, and loss of ride comfort, steering control and drivability.
Having your steering and suspension systems examined by a trusted mechanic will alert you to problems before they become a major issue that leaves you stranded on the side of the road.
When should my steering & suspension be checked out?
Your steering and suspension system should be reviewed on a periodic basis as you hit major milestones. Like all other systems on your car, your steering and suspension systems need occasional maintenance. The best times to inspect your steering and suspension include:
- Most car manufacturers recommend inspecting each system at every 50,000 miles
- Annually - regardless of miles - age deteriorates rubber and hydraulic parts
- When tires are replaced - worn parts can reduce tire life
- When your brake system is serviced
- When oil and filter is changed a visual inspection should be performed
- If you observe fluid leaking where you park
- Anytime your vehicle is in for routine service and the steering and suspension is accessible
- When you feel that your car exhibits any irregular control or handling characteristics
How do I know that my car isn’t handling properly and should be examined?
If your vehicle experiences any of the following symptoms, a mechanic should inspect your steering and suspension systems:
- Unusually bouncy or harsh ride
- Vibration at any speed
- Unusual noise in the front end of your car when going over bumps
- Unexpected noise when turning the steering wheel
- Steering wheel is no longer aligned straight
- Car drifts left or right when driving in a straight line
- Uneven tire wear
- You observe fluid leaks under the front of your car
- Car sways, feels loose or wanders when driving
Who should inspect my steering & suspension?
If you feel your car needs to be inspected or it is simply time for a routine exam, you should take your car to a mechanic who has the proper diagnostic equipment and expertise. Steering and suspension systems are as much a part of the safe operation of your vehicle as the braking system – be sure that who works on your car has the knowledge and experience it takes to work on steering and suspension systems.
The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein.