Car Maintenance 101: Diagnosing Your Suspension Problems (Part II)

October 9, 2008

Note to the Reader 3: This is obviously just the continuation to my previous post. Just a little reminder, working on your suspension, particularly if we’re talking a major overhaul, is best left to the professionals. But one thing you can do is to purchase your own replacement parts from a reputable parts provider. This way, all you have to do is pay for the installation/repair fees from your local garage. Also, I’ll have to apologize for not updating my blog as frequently as I used to. I’m currently in the middle of a project, but don’t worry, I’ll have more updates once this project is done.

So now on to the real show…

If You Experience Dips or Diving, or Even Excessive Bouncing Each Time You Pass a Hump…

A slight dip each time you pass a hump is usually normal. But if your ride is in danger of bottoming up or really taking a short dive to touch the road, then you may have suspension problems. When driving, it’s always recommended that you slow down or depress on your brake pedal each time you go near a hump. Running over humps is ill-advised because it really does destroy your suspension. But if you’re cautious when it comes to road humps and you still encounter diving, dipping, or excessive bouncing, then your vehicle could have:

  • Damaged leaf springs. Leaf springs are what causes the up and down motion of your ride. They’re there to prevent damage on your car’s components each time you go through road irregularities. But the moment your car becomes harder to handle due to bouncing, then that’s the time you need to inspect your leaf springs. Repair these components or replace them completely if you need to.
  • Worn or broken strut assemblies or shock absorbers. Shock absorbers and even struts are there to dampen the movement of your leaf springs. Without them, you’re bound to experience vehicle swaying and bouncing. So the moment you encounter these problems, do check the state of your struts and shocks and repair or replace them if necessary.

If You’re Experiencing Difficulties Keeping Your Car Moving Straight Because It Skids to the Right or Left…

One neat trick that I often do, but only when there are no other cars around and when the road is straight, is I let go of the steering wheel just for a moment (a second or two tops). This allows me to determine if one of my tires is in need of inflating. When keeping your car straight is a constant struggle, then it’s a sign that:

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