Cars & Vehicles Auto Parts & Maintenance & Repairs

How to Check Suspension Parts

    • 1). Start your suspension check with the obvious. With the vehicle parked on a flat, paved surface, jounce the front suspension by placing your knee on the front bumper and applying your weight to the knee in order to bounce the vehicle. You're looking for excessive bounce. Anything more than two bounces on one side or more than three bounces from side to side are indicative of weakened suspension components--most likely the shocks or struts, but also possibly the coil springs or leaf springs. Repeat this procedure for the rear bumper.

    • 2). Lift the front of the vehicle with the floor jack and jack stands after placing a wheel chock behind one of the rear tires. Crawl under the vehicle on a creeper if you have one and look at the shocks or struts. Visual evidence of damage or weakness are oily leakage dripping down the shafts of the shock or strut, or even caked-on dirt and grime from the road that has clung to the oily leakage. Repeat this step for the rear axle after moving the wheel chock in front of one of the front tires.

    • 3). Lower the vehicle and inspect the coil springs or leaf springs. Look for broken coil springs or snapped leaf springs. A telltale sign of a damaged spring is the vehicle leaning to one side or creaking noises when going over bumps of any size. This is a potentially hazardous situation and should be taken care of immediately. Broken coil or leaf springs can compromise the safety of the vehicle and in some cases shift and cause more damage to the undercarriage or tire of the vehicle.

    • 4). Check the sway bar lings connected to the sway bar behind the tires. Some vehicles have front and rear sway bars and sway bar links. Sway bars handle the side-to-side maneuverability of a vehicle. A broken sway bar link may make the suspension jittery when taking turns to the compromised side.

    • 5). Inspect the condition of the tires. Unevenly worn tires willwreak havoc with suspension parts on the vehicle and can be hazardous if the tires are showing steel belt or badly cupped/scalloped. Because the only thing separating the vehicle from the road is the tire, it's one of your most important handling and suspension components.

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