Most drivers wonder about their vehicle’s suspension when the ride gets rough. But that bounce and squeak isn’t the only way a bad suspension can spoil your ride.
Does your car lean into turns a little a little too forcefully? Does the back of your vehicle drag when you accelerate? Does the front take a noticeable nosedive when you brake?
With a damaged suspension, it feels like you’ve lost a little bit of your control over your vehicle. Listen to that instinct – the lean, the drag, and the nosedive are warnings of heightened rollover risk and increased stop time.
How do you know if your suspension is damaged?
A bad suspension leaves visible signs if you know where to look, but the change in your vehicle’s handling will probably catch your attention first.
Signs of a damaged suspension that you can see and hear:
– One corner of your vehicle sits lower than the others. Suspect a broken spring.
– Your vehicle fails the “bounce test”: Lean your body weight on the front of your parked vehicle and then move away quickly. If the vehicle bounces more than twice, suspect a problem with your shocks and struts.
– Your tire treads develop a specific, uneven wear pattern called “cupping.”
– You see oil, grease, or obvious wear on your shocks or struts.
– You hear squeaking, especially when turning or braking.
Here are several symptoms of a damaged suspension that you can feel as you drive:
– Your ride feels rougher than usual.
– Your car leans forward, backward, or toward one side as you brake.
– Your vehicle pulls or drifts, especially around turns. The prime suspect: bad shock absorbers.
– Your vehicle pulls or drifts while driving straight. The cause could be your suspension – or your steering, your tires, or your brakes. Rule out uneven tire pressure, then see a mechanic.
Here’s a tip that just may save you a trip to Gold Star Auto. (We won’t take it personally.) Some signs of steering and suspension problems are really brake and tire problems in disguise. So, at the first sign of trouble, check your tire pressure and tread wear. Your suspension is designed to work with four correctly inflated tires, ideally of the same age and tread life. If optimal tire pressure doesn’t fix the problem, make your diagnostic appointment.
Is it safe to drive a car with bad suspension?
Driving with a bad suspension is likely more dangerous than driving with a suspension in good shape. The suspension contributes to your vehicle’s road traction and resistance to centrifugal force when turning and braking. Depending on the suspension problem, you could face increased risk of rolling over, or find yourself unable to stop as quickly as you expect in an emergency.
Power Steering Service
How do I know if my power steering is going out?
Some common signs of a power steering problem are:
– Noise when turning the steering wheel: A loose drive belt can squeal, and a bad power steering pump can clatter.
– Change in steering response: A stiff or slow-to-respond steering wheel can also point to a bad power steering pump.
– Vibrating steering wheel: A loose belt or power steering pulley.
– Low or dirty power steering fluid: Oxidation, metal flakes, or bubbles can mean air in the power steering fluid lines or a bad power steering pump.
What causes steering problems?
Power steering problems are typically caused by:
– Worn power steering pump.
– Contaminated power steering fluid: A side effect of problems with the power steering pump and hoses.
– Low power steering fluid pressure: Caused by leaks or air in the power fluid lines.
Loose or broken drive belt: A completely broken serpentine-style drive belt will disable too many systems to operate your vehicle, but a drive belt issue localized to your power steering pulley can compromise your power steering alone.