Briskly speeding along bumpy off-road terrain and kicking up a cloud of dust, and winning the heart of his love interest with gentle and smooth cornering! A man’s driving can be so diverse all thanks to ‘suspension.’ Let’s look more closely into suspension, which we use conveniently and yet seems quite unfamiliar in terms of concept.
‘Suspension’ is a structural device of a car, and we usually think that its role involves buffering. It absorbs the shock from the road and makes not to directly reach the passengers. In other words, it’s directly responsible for ‘ride quality.’
Another crucial role of suspensions is to connect the tires to the car frame and support the car. It holds up the car body from the ground so that the tires run smoothly. On the other hand, suspension also keeps the tires well attached to the road. It increases grip and driving safety by keeping the tires in proper alignment with the ground without drifting in the air, even when on curvy roads. In short, it affects ‘performance.’
But these two functions of suspension, ride quality and performance, are like the two sides of a coin. If you use gentle suspension for better ride quality, the steering responsibility in high-speed driving or cornering will not be as good. But if you use stronger suspension, it’s ideal for controlling the car, but it deteriorates the ride quality because the shock from the road is not filtered properly.
There are various types of suspension. The most basic type is ‘general suspension’ that consists of a ‘spring’ that serves as a buffer and ‘shock absorber’ that adjusts the bouncing of the springs.
There is also ‘all-in-one suspension’ which combines these two parts into one for more stable ride quality, and ‘air suspension’ embedded with an ‘air compressor’ instead of springs for smooth ride quality. Recently, there is even ‘active suspension’ that freely adjusts the intensity of suspension depending on the road conditions using an electronic control technology.
Compared to the human body, suspension can be referred to as the ‘waist’. Suspension is as important to a car as the waist is to us humans. If there’s something wrong with the suspension, what would happen?
If you look at your car with a naked eye and find that the tire abrasion is uneven or the wheels are abnormally bent out of shape, you must repair the wheel alignment (the part where suspension is connected to wheel). If the car leans to one side, the suspension on the tipping side might be damaged. If you feel your car rattle excessively while driving at a low speed on an even road, it’s likely that there’s something wrong with the part that’s responsible for buffering in the suspension.
You can also check your suspension by steering the wheel or stepping on the brakes. If the suspension is damaged, you will get a slow response or hear a noise when you steer the wheel, and feel the car lean forward quickly when you step on the brakes, and it will take a long time for the car to regain its balance.
As suspensions are expendable, they must be replaced once they age, and are consumed even more quickly when not managed properly. To use your suspensions for a long time, keep the car light by taking out all the unnecessary junk from the trunk, and discard any driving habits that severely damage the tires such as quick starting and braking. You can use the suspensions longer if you keep them clean with regular inspections.
Suspension is an extremely important part for comfortable driving as well as safety.
If you properly take care of your suspensions as if you exercise consistently to attain a strong waist, your driving will be a much greater experience for you.