The words ‘automotive suspension’ usually brings to mind images of heavy duty torsion bars and coil springs, however, what most people don’t know is that your car’s suspension system is actually a part of the chassis. Which means that not only is your suspension one of the most vital parts of your car, but that it’s constantly put to the test when driving. Everything from your tires to the steering wheel is affected by the health of your car’s suspension. This information is especially useful when dealing with aftermarket parts and repairs.
If you’re still spinning your wheels and can’t tell a torsion bar from a tail pipe—we’ve put together the ultimate cheat sheet on suspension parts!
Core Parts of Suspension
These cylindrical chambers of air between the wheel and the car are used to evenly distribute weight across all tires. This translates into a smoother and safer ride.
These are steel bars that act as springs by transferring vehicle motion across it length.
These are probably the most readily identified parts of your car’s suspension—most of us have seen large trucks cruising down the highway with springs large enough to double as a jungle gym! These springs absorb shock by expanding and compressing as the terrain demands.
While most cars don’t use leaf springs, they can still be found on larger trucks. Leaf springs are thin arc-shaped cuts of spring steel. Heavier vehicles often have several leaves stacked on top of each other to provide the needed spring.
Other Areas Affected by Suspension
Yep, the whole thing. Overloading your frame means you put too much weight on the load bearing parts of your car i.e. your suspension.
The motion that your suspension mitigates is transferred through the wheels—this is why uneven wear and other tire irregularities are often signs of a damaged suspension.
Another potential sign of a damaged suspension or improperly aligned chassis is a noticeable rattling of the steering wheel, especially at high speeds.
All of these parts contribute to a healthy suspension system, and contribute to the smoothness and safety of your ride. Be sure to check out our How To and Buyer’s Guides for more information on choosing the proper suspension parts if you’re looking to replace or improve yours!
Written by Dara Greaney