Have you driven a car without a suspension system? Well, if you have then you’d be more than a 100 years old! It was in the year 1904, when a young man named William Brush helped in devising the modern automobile suspension system. After experiencing difficulties while cornering his car at the speed of 50km/hr, Brush almost lost control and crashed onto a barbed-wire fence because there was no suspension system in his car. To ensure this accident didn’t repeat again, he designed the revolutionary suspension system within a couple of years. This revolutionary system incorporated two innovations – front coil springs and shock absorbers, assembled together and mounted on a flexible hickory axle.
Thanks to his invention, today’s suspension system still consists of the same main components – springs, shock absorbers and struts. The job of a suspension system is to absorb irregularities on the road and allow the driver to maintain control of his vehicle through a turn. The most significant benefit of such a system is to maintain continuous tire-to-road contact through all road conditions. Also, changing suspension components can help in altering the handling characteristics of the vehicle. Contact our professional Edmonton car mechanics to know more in-depth about car suspension components. But first, it’s good to know the basics of a suspension system.
Types of Springs
In determining the balance between stiffness and ride quality, springs are the primary factors as they support the weight of each corner of the vehicle. They also determine ride height. The weight held up by the suspension system is called sprung weight. The frame, engine, and transmission are included in sprung weight. Anything between the spring and road is unsprung weight, which includes the tires, steering knuckles or spindles and brakes. Handling and ride quality of cars with less unsprung weight are better. There are several types of springs used in the automobile industry today and they are – coil spring, leaf springs, and air springs.
Cars and light trucks with standard suspension systems are usually equipped with shock absorbers. When a car without shock absorbers experiences a bump, the spring in the suspension system continues to shorten and lengthen for sometime after it has been compressed and released. Such a vehicle would be dangerous to drive as the spring action may produce a very bumpy and uncomfortable ride.
Shock absorbers dampen the motion of a suspension. They can be termed as dampers as well. They control the transient motion of the vehicle. The amount of resistance depends on how fast the suspension moves. Shock absorbers not only give a comfortable ride but also help ensure all four tires stay in contact with the road. This also ensures better stability and control.
Struts are a major structural part of the suspension system, unlike shock absorbers. There are two main actions struts perform – dampen the movement of the springs as they compress and rebound, and provide structural support to the vehicle’s suspension and hold the tire in an aligned position. Struts affect riding comfort and enhance handling, vehicle braking, control, steering, wheel alignment and tire wear.
Suspension maintenance cannot be done by inexperienced people. Edmonton car mechanics are qualified technicians who have years of experience and knowledge about cars and their component systems. If you wish to know more about suspension maintenance or want to get your vehicle’s suspension system inspected, get in touch with us.
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