Car Suspension Explained – How does it work?
Your automobile is a culmination of intricate parts and components that work in harmony to provide the push that allows you to get from one place to another. When we talk about cars, most of the focus is on horsepower, torque, and acceleration. But, what people tend to forget is that none of these attributes can come into power unless you can control the vehicle on the road. When we talk about control, the car suspension system plays an integral role. Let’s dive deeper into what is car suspension and why is it so important?
What is a car suspension system?
The suspension system of any vehicle consists of a number of components that work to maximise the friction between the tyres and the road surface. It is committed to keeping the ride as smooth as possible while allowing the driver to have complete control over the steering wheels. It increases the comfort of the passengers and keeps everyone on the road to be safe. With modern technologies, the car suspension system has evolved to provide maximum comfort with minimal efforts.
The need for car suspension arises from the irregularities of the roads. Even a freshly paved highway has slight bumps and imperfections that could hamper the control of the car. And let’s be real, nobody wants their car losing the touch with the roads! A tiny bump in the road can lead to the wheel moving up and down perpendicularly. Without a suspension system, you would not be able to land back safely on the road.
Why is your Car Suspension so Important?
Engineers and mechanics emphasise keeping the suspension system maintained and in good condition for several reasons. If you’re wondering why there is so much limelight on the suspension system, take a look at the points mentioned below!
Here’s why the suspension system is so essential:
- They control spring and suspension movement
- It helps to avoid premature tyre wear
- Maintains the dynamic wheel alignment
- Reduce the impact on other vehicle components by absorbing the shock
- Provides smooth and consistent handling of the vehicle
- It keeps the tyres in contact with the road
- Prevents brake wear
- Controls vehicle bound, sway, drive, and acceleration
| Also Read: Top 5 Signs Your Car Suspension Needs Repairing |
Car Suspension Parts and Functions
The car suspension is a part of the chassis that comprise several components located beneath the car’s body. Let’s take a look at the entire system before moving onto individual parts.
The entire system consists of:
- The frame is the core structure of your car that supports all the essential parts and the body weight.
- The suspension system is a set of components that support the vehicle weight and absorb the shocks.
- The steering wheel assists the driver to direct the vehicle.
- The tyres and wheels push the vehicle forward while gripping the road.
Car Suspension Components Explained
We have understood what a car suspension is and its importance and functions. To better understand the mechanism, it is essential to know the different components that make a suspension system.
Let’s take a look!
Springs make up a very integral part of the suspension system. They are usually placed between the wheels and the frame, allowing the wheels to absorb the irregularities of the road. It reduces jolting by moving the body up when there is a bump. The springing system of a car is based on the following mechanics:
- Coil Springs – These are the most common ones that you would find in any vehicle. It is a heavy-duty torsion bar curled around an axis and works to absorb the movement of the wheels.
- Leaf Springs – These kinds of springs are found in heavy-duty and older vehicles. It consists of strips of metal piled on top of one another. Interestingly enough, leaf springs were first used in horse-drawn carriages.
- Torsion Bars – It comprises a long piece of metal attached to the car and wheel. The twisting properties of the steel bar allow it to act like springs, thereby fulfilling its purpose in the suspension system.
- Air Springs – They make use of air-filled containers that are placed between the wheel and the body. When the air spring moves up or down, the system adds or reduces air, maintaining the comfort and friction of the car. The compressive quality of the air absorbs wheel vibrations.
The spring works well to absorb the shock but is not great at releasing it. Without a controlling mechanism, the springs will continue to bounce until the energy inside is exhausted. That won’t be a good ride for any of us. This is where the shock absorber or snubber comes into play. They work to control the unwanted spring motion, keeping the car from going into an uncontrolled frenzy.
The Shock absorbers manage and control the vibratory motions with the help of kinetic energy. The kinetic energy of the suspension movement converts into heat energy and is dispersed with the help of hydraulic fluid. The mechanism is known as dampening.
The shock absorbers make use of an oil pump that is strategically placed between the frame and the wheels. The section connected to the car’s frame is known as the outer tube and contains a piston. The other section, also known as the reserve tube, is connected to the suspension system. It is the reserve tube that contains the hydraulic fluid.
When the car faces any irregularity in the road, the springs start their work by coiling and uncoiling. The energy of the spring travels to the shock absorber, where the hydraulic fluid slows down the movement of the coil spring. In this manner, the shock absorber prevents the car from going through the uncontrolled nature of the springs.
Struts also provide a dampening function similar to a shock absorber. It is installed inside a coil spring, providing structural support for the vehicle suspension. Where shock absorbers only support the speed at which the car weight is transferred, struts support the entire weight itself.
Struts are placed on the front of the car suspension. They are attached to the main body at the top and the suspension arm at the bottom. Struts are a car suspension component that provides safe handling. Make sure you keep an eye on the struts, as any damage can lead to mismanagement of weight transfer. It could also eventually lead to braking issues and affect the tyre’s ability to stay on the road. Opt for suspension repair if you notice any discrepancies.
Anti-roll bars, also known as anti-sway bars, are used along a shock absorber to provide extra stability to the moving vehicle. The bars are just a metal rod that crosses the axle and joins each side of the suspension system. As the system is interconnected, when a wheel moves up and down, the anti-sway bar carries the movement to the other wheel. In this manner, the balance is maintained, giving a more smooth, levelled ride. Additionally, it also reduces vehicle sway. No wonder it is named as Anti-sway bars!
Other car suspension systems include anti-roll bar link rods, bottom suspension arms, top strut mounts, and more.
I hope you’re well aware of the car suspension system, the different components, and its functionality. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below. For more such articles, keep following this space.
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