DESCRIPTION OF STEERING AND SUSPENSION SYSTEM

The steering and suspension system on your vehicle is responsible for maintaining comfortable riding conditions and driving performance. The steering and suspension system also helps drivers remain in control of their vehicles at all times. The suspension system converts forward energy created by bumps in the road into vertical energy that travels up into the vehicle frame. Suspension system components, like coil springs and shock absorbers, help to dampen the impact of this road force. While the individual components comprising each suspension system may vary, all suspension system components will weaken over time through stress applied during normal driving conditions. Similarly, off-road driving and erratic driving can wear down suspension components more quickly. Regardless of your driving preferences, we have the necessary equipment to identify and correct any issue plaguing your steering and suspension system. Our staff is trained to inspect the steering and suspension components in order to determine whether your service will entail a minor adjustment or a replacement.

 

BENEFITS OF STEERING AND SUSPENSION SYSTEM

Shaky, unsteady, off-center, and stiff steering are all cause for getting a steering system repaired, while excessive bouncing or swaying during bumps and intermittent control while driving and braking are cause for a suspension system inspection. Uneven tire wear is also a potential sign of a suspension problem, though this may also point to alignment issues. Have you hit a pothole recently? Potholes can cause damage to steering and suspension components. Worn suspension components will reduce the stability of the vehicle and the control of the driver. Because suspension system components combine into one working unit, suspension issues that go untreated have the potential to increase the wear on other suspension components, which may result in more extensive repairs down the road. If you experience any of the above symptoms, contact us online or by phone today.

 

THE BASICS BEHIND BALL JOINT REPLACEMENT SERVICES

The suspension system allows your tires to maintain constant contact with the road, especially on uneven surfaces like bumps and potholes. Ball joints are ball-and-socket joints located between the control arm and the steering knuckle. Ball joints act as the pivot point between the wheels and the rest of the suspension system. They are designed to allow for movement in two planes at once while providing ease of rotation in those planes. They allow a vehicle’s suspension system to move up or down while the wheels turn left or right. Vehicles with shocks have upper and lower ball joints, while many vehicles with struts have only lower ball joints. Some ball joints are load-bearing and will wear faster than normal ball joints. As an important suspension component, ball joints are designed to experience wear and tear, often in the form of friction. Like all suspension system components, ball joints have a maintenance schedule that can help prevent unexpected repairs or replacements.



WHY SHOULD YOU HAVE BALL JOINT REPLACEMENT SERVICES

Upper and lower ball joints are designed to fit snugly inside a lubricated casing. If the casing loses lubrication, dries out, or the linkage becomes loose, wheel alignment may be affected. A loose ball joint can also result in suspension noise and uneven tire wear. Because ball joints act as the link between the wheels and other suspension components, a bad joint can conflict with normal steering capabilities. In extreme cases, a worn ball joint that fails may fall out of its casing and cause a collapse of the suspension system. Clunking sounds, poor handling, and unnatural pulling are all signs of bad ball joints. In some cases, ball joints may require replacements. If you plan on avoiding a ball joint failure, be sure to consult your owner’s manual for the maximum allowable wear on your suspension system’s ball joints. Our replacement ball joints will restore full functionality to your suspension system.

 

THE BASICS BEHIND INNER TIE ROD & OUTER TIE ROD REPLACEMENT SERVICES

Regardless of the type of steering system in your vehicle, you use inner and outer tie rods. As an important part of your vehicle’s steering and suspension system, tie rods act as the link between your vehicle’s steering system and the steering arm, which is attached to the steering wheel. When you turn the steering wheel, the steering arm moves the front wheels through the steering system. The inner and outer tie rods connect to the steering arm in order to move the wheels of your vehicle. In the common rack-and-pinion steering system, the inner tie rods connect to the steering rack while the outer tie rods connect to the steering arms. The tie rods make steering and turning possible by moving your wheels in the desired direction. Without properly functioning tie rods, the steering mechanism would no longer operate as intended. Because inner and outer tie rods play such a significant role, replacing tie rods as necessary is important for overall vehicle maintenance.



WHY SHOULD YOU HAVE INNER TIE ROD & OUTER TIE ROD REPLACEMENT SERVICES

Difficult, erratic, and unexpected steering are signs that your tie rods—inner, outer, or both—might need to be replaced. One indication that your tie rods may be loose is excessive and uneven tire wear. Vibrations and clunking noises emanating from the front of your vehicle are another sign. Steering that pulls or refuses to return to center are also signals that your inner and outer tie rods should be checked and possibly replaced by a member of our service staff. Wheels out of alignment may be signs of bad inner or outer tie rods. As an outer tie rod fails, the toe changes direction and the steering begins to pull. Clicking or grinding noise under your front wheels are other signs of bad tie rods. If you experience any warning signs of a malfunctioning tie rod, give us a call or contact us online, and allow our service staff to determine if your steering system requires tie rod replacements.

 

THE BASICS BEHIND SHOCKS REPLACEMENT SERVICES

Shock absorbers are components in your vehicle’s suspension system that help your tires remain in contact with the surface of the road. They dampen the impact of road force and absorb the rebound of springs and other suspension components. Front and rear shocks are designed to adjust to driving conditions, like bumps, potholes, and sudden maneuvers. They also reduce bounce rate, sway, and brake dive or acceleration squat. Modern day shocks are velocity-sensitive, which means that the faster the springs and other suspension components are moving, the more resistance provided by the shocks. Hydraulic shocks convert kinetic energy from the springs into thermal energy that the hydraulic fluid inside each shock absorbs and dissipates. When the suspension system bounces, hydraulic fluid is forced through holes inside the piston. This slows the compression of the piston, thereby slowing down spring and suspension movement. While hydraulic and gas shocks are the most common types of shocks used on vehicles today, some vehicles also use electronic and air shocks.

 

THE BASICS BEHIND SUSPENSION INSPECTION SERVICES

The primary function of your vehicle’s suspension system is to provide structural support while maintaining comfortable riding conditions. The suspension system helps your vehicle’s tires maintain firm contact on the road at all times by compensating for bumps, potholes, and sudden undulations. Suspension system components like coil springs, leaf springs, torsion bars, shocks, and struts all help to absorb bounce, shock, and unexpected motion from the surface of the road. Without a fully functioning suspension system, your vehicle will be harder to control. Because regular wear and tear takes its toll on your suspension system, the scheduling of routine repairs and an understanding of the signs of an impending service are an important part of suspension system maintenance. For example, experiencing unusual movements over bumps or through turns are signs that your suspension system should be inspected by a staff of professionals. When you suspect suspension system problems, please give us a call or contact us.

 

WHY SHOULD YOU HAVE SUSPENSION INSPECTION SERVICES

Knowing how to identify steering and suspension issues will help you determine when to schedule an inspection. Over time, the components of your suspension system, like coil springs, shock absorbers, struts, shocks, tie rods, ball joints, and sway bar links, can weaken and malfunction, thereby decreasing your ability to maintain control of your vehicle. Signs of an impending suspension inspection include leaking shocks or struts. Nose-dives when braking and bottoming out during bumps are also signs of a problem with your vehicle’s suspension system. If you begin to experience driving irregularities like bouncing, swaying, or unusual stiffness, contact us today for an inspection of your steering and suspension system. Besides being aware of the signs and symptoms of a worn suspension system, be sure to consult your owner’s manual when determining maintenance schedules and intervals for inspections of your vehicle’s suspension system.

 

WHY SHOULD YOU HAVE SHOCKS REPLACEMENT SERVICES

Replacing shocks can maximize the performance of your entire suspension system. The components in your suspension system interact and depend on each other. Shock absorbers and brakes work together to help your vehicle stop as soon as possible upon engaging the brake pedal. Worn shocks mean your vehicle is less likely to stop exactly when and where you want. In fact, bad shocks can increase your stopping distance by up to 10 feet. Worn shock absorbers will cause your vehicle to dive when braking. With a set of bad shocks, you may experience problems like bounce, body roll, sway, and other unexpected movements in your suspension system. Healthy shocks improve braking and handling, making your vehicle easier to control. Replacing front and rear shocks as necessary will help promote a safe road for everyone.

 

THE BASICS BEHIND STRUTS REPLACEMENT SERVICES

While the function of shocks and struts is very similar, the biggest difference is in how they mount to your vehicle. Shocks function in addition to other suspension components, while struts are designed as a pivot point for the steering mechanism. Struts behave as a dampening device that absorbs excessive bounce. The strut assembly combines coil springs, spring seats, strut bearings, and shock absorbers into one working unit. The steering arm or steering knuckle is also included in some strut designs. Struts use a piston to absorb high lateral loads. The spring seat and strut bearing allow the shock to pivot with the front wheels and the steering mechanism. Struts and accompanying suspension components help push tires back into place when one leaves the road. Overall, struts work in conjunction with the rest of the suspension system to help stabilize the vehicle while maintaining a comfortable and safe ride.

 

WHY SHOULD YOU HAVE STRUTS REPLACEMENT SERVICES

Worn struts increase braking distance and increase body roll, sway, and bounce rate. The bounce test, wherein you bounce on each corner of your vehicle a few times, is a good way to determine whether or not you need to schedule a strut replacement. If your vehicle bounces and settles, your struts are operating as they should. If your vehicle continues to bounce, you should seek to replace the struts on your suspension system as soon as possible. Other signs that your struts need to be replaced include excessive brake dive, acceleration squat, body roll or sway, and unusual tire wear patterns. Unusual noise from struts may also indicate that the spring seat or strut bearing requires a replacement. If you experience any of the above signs of worn struts, contact us immediately. Having your struts replaced will improve braking, handling, and the overall controllability of your vehicle.

 

THE BASICS BEHIND SWAY BAR LINK REPLACEMENT SERVICES

Connecting the wheels on opposite sides of the vehicle is a stabilizer bar called the sway bar. The sway bar is charged with controlling “body roll” by distributing the weight of your vehicle to both sides of the suspension. When your vehicle moves through a turn, the sway bar keeps the vehicle level by minimizing body roll through the transfer of vehicle weight to the outside wheels. It also maintains solid contact with the surface of the road through the compression of the suspension components on the inside wheels. Sway bar links are a crucial component in your vehicle’s suspension system. The sway bar links are what connect the suspension to the sway bar and transfer the force of motion from the wheels to the axles. When the vehicle turns or corners, the sway bar end links pull on the bar to resist body roll while stabilizing the force of motion and the weight of the vehicle.

 

WHY SHOULD YOU HAVE SWAY BAR LINK REPLACEMENT SERVICES

Because sway bar links are responsible for transferring the force of motion from the wheels to the sway bar and to the rest of the suspension system, if a sway bar end link is damaged, the controllability of your vehicle and the safety of your passengers are at risk. While some sway bar links have bushing that can be replaced, other sway bar links require replacements upon wearing out. Warning signs of a broken or bad sway bar link include clunks and squeaks. Over-steering or excessive lean through turns are also symptoms of worn sway bar links, but they can also be signs of larger problems with your vehicle’s suspension system. Do not let symptoms of bad sway bar links or other suspension components go untreated. Little problems with suspension systems have the tendency to turn into larger problems and more expensive repairs if not repaired or replaced. If you experience any of the above symptoms, allow our service staff to determine if a sway bar link replacement is right for you.