The Four Types Of Car Suspensions
Picture it: you’re driving along a scenic route with trees changing colors. Rich reds catch your eye. Bright yellows morph into soft oranges. Trees sway with the breeze filtering through the cracks in your car windows, filling your nostrils with fresh air.
Then, you slam into a pothole.
Your car interacts with all sorts of different terrains while you’re driving. Asphalt, dirt, potholes, rocks in the road. How your car handles it all will boil down to its suspension system. Below are the four basic kinds installed in vehicles today.
This suspension system was once used on horse-drawn carriages. However, they’re set up a little differently today. Modern-day vehicles use a tough rubber exterior with a plastic bag on the inside that inflates when necessary. This air chamber is placed between the undercarriage and the wheel to absorb impacts while driving. It provides the smoothest ride of your life, but be forewarned: they are expensive to maintain. Get them regularly inspected to prolong their life and ease the burden on your wallet.
Like the system mentioned above, leaf springs were also used in horse-drawn carriages. This suspension system is made of several heavy-duty metal layers that are held together by a U-bolt to become a single spring. The different lengths of the layers aid basic shock absorption during transit. These were the main suspension systems placed in vehicles up until the late eighties and are still used today in heavy-duty trucks as well as commercial vehicles for their ability to take on the heaviest of loads.
While it sounds bulky, this suspension system is actually a space-saver. It uses a steel bar that twists on command, allowing mimicry of the performance of regular coil springs. The end of one bar is connected to the car’s frame while another one adheres to a “wishbone.” That wishbone part works as a lever and moves in perpendicular motions to the torsion bar, which helps with ride height adjustment on the fly. These are used a lot in European cars but have become less common over the years.
The most common system to date, this Slinky-looking spring can take on heavy loads just like leaf springs. This system is nothing but a heavy-duty torsion bar wrapped in a noise-reductive coil that sits on a specific axis tailored to the car’s needs. Most will tell you that this type of system is most fitting for larger vehicles, but if the system comes with shock absorbers, it can be a great suspension system for any type of vehicle.
Knowing your car’s suspension type is great basic knowledge to have at your side. But, even if you don’t know which suspension system your vehicle has, a certified technician at West Automotive Group in West Escondido, CA, can figure that out for you! Give them a call today at (760) 741-0071 to speak with a professional that can answer all of your questions to your heart’s content.