Your vehicle’s suspension system is designed to maximize the amount of friction that occurs when the rubber (your tires) meets the road so you and your passengers can enjoy a smooth ride. Over the years, the suspension has evolved to become a very advanced component, but problems do still happen over time.

Since the suspension is made up of multiple parts – springs, shock absorbers, control arms, and more – they can take a real pounding depending on the conditions of the road. As a result, nearly every part can take some form of abuse. With this in mind, we would like to take a look at some of the common symptoms of the system that will determine whether you need to visit a shop for suspension repairs!

Pulling to One Side While Driving

Pulling to the left or right while driving is probably the most frequent indicator of a problem with your suspension. On the other hand, it’s also one of the most difficult to diagnose on your own if you’re not a trained professional.

The reasons it could be doing this include uneven tire pressure or tire wear, poor wheel alignment, bad tie rods, or a warped brake caliper. When you have a vehicle that likes to pull, you’re putting your tires at risk, you have to constantly fight with the steering wheel, and you are also losing gas mileage. Simply running over a pothole or hopping the curb can misalign everything.

Perhaps the issue you’re facing is that your tires don’t have enough pressure inside of them. Basically, they’re underinflated, and much like a bicycle with flat tires, you’re going to have a difficult time keeping your vehicle going straight when the friction between the tires and the road is far too great. This can be resolved either by inflating the tire or having it rotated, which evens out tire wear to extend its lifespan.

You Can Feel Every Bump in the Road

When you’re dealing with a rough ride, your shocks or struts may be worn out and need to be replaced. An easy way to figure out whether this is the case, when your car is parked and you’re standing near the hood, put all of your weight on the front end of the vehicle and let go.

If your vehicle bounces to and fro 3 or more times, this is a clear sign your shocks and maybe even your struts are worn out and are in need of replacement. It may also be a side effect if you’ve been in an accident as even the slightest damage can permanently wear away the shocks. Get them swapped out as soon as possible!

A Corner of the Car Sits Lower than the Rest

This is one of those moments where you’re going to need to rely on your own level of perception. If you notice that even on level ground, one corner of your car is sitting lower than the rest, this is likely the sign you have a damaged spring.

Another way to tell is when your car makes a clunking noise when you go over a bump, or when you’re having far greater trouble going around corners since the compromised spring isn’t able to support the weight of the vehicle. This irritating behavior becomes exponentially pronounced in poor road conditions.

Much like when you test out the shocks and struts, you can find out if there’s a problem with the springs by pushing down on the trunk of your vehicle while it’s parked, letting go, and listening to how the suspension responds to the weight. If you happen to hear a creak or squeal, there’s a definite problem with your suspension. The last thing you want to put up with is a vehicle that drags itself along the highway while you’re getting to work, so be sure to get this checked out as soon as possible!

Any Momentum Causes Your Vehicle to Shake

If you notice your car leaning forward, backward, or side-to-side while you’re driving, this is another key sign that your shocks or struts may need to be replaced. We’re not talking about when you’re in the midst of aggressive traffic during rush hour; rather, under normal driving conditions.

On that same note, if you find your steering to be particularly difficult especially when you’re driving slowly, your power steering could be malfunctioning. This can be the result of having low power steering fluid, a worn or loosened power steering belt, or worn components in the power steering.

Regardless of whatever you may be experiencing, you shouldn’t ignore these problems before it’s too late and you have a safety hazard on your hands. It’s in your best interest to bring your ride to the nearest auto repair shop to have it checked out as soon as possible!