Suspension: What Makes You Have Smoother Rides


Whether you are going at blistering speeds on a dirt road or driving slow in your neighborhood you’ll need suspension. Your seat, wheels and suspension separate your car from the road. The wheels take away the friction of the road and make your car movable, while your seat holds your body in place. Now, the suspension absorbs all the tremors and shocks you experience in different terrain ensuring you have a smooth ride.

You may think to yourself that you drive mostly on smooth asphalt roads, thus you don’t need to worry too much about suspension. Ah wrong! There are slight tremors that your suspension system eliminates and if you have ever gone over a bump with a busted suspension, then probably you know the feeling like you’ve entered and emerged from a crater.

Suspension is made up of two basic parts that is the spring and the shock absorber:


There are three types of springs, these are coil springs, torsion bars and leaf springs. Coil springs are the most popular and are literally coiled torsion bars. The leaf springs were the hallmark of American cars up to 1985 and mostly all heavy duty cars. When connected to the axle they look like metallic layers. These layers give off an appearance that is similar to leaves thus they are known as leaf-springs. The torsion bar is a little bit different as it gives an equally coiled like spring experience. The torsion bar is where the axle is placed to one end of the steel shaft, and the other end is attached into a tube and held there firmly by splines. When the suspension is moves there is a twisting in the shaft which is resisted.

Shock Absorber

Whereas your tyres remove lateral suspension, your shock absorbers provide you with vertical suspension. Lateral suspension is lacked on underground trains, where the train and its carriages move from side to side. As for vertical suspension it involves absorbing the rugged terrain. Known also by their more technical name dampers, shock absorbers serve up two uses. First they ensure that any larger than average bumps on the road do not unsettle the chassis as they absorb the upward thrust of the wheels.


Suspension Types

Manufacturers in the car industry have been striving for differentiation when it comes to their suspensions. They have made a sheer magnitude of types, however all their attempts fall under two categories and that is dependent and independent suspensions.

Dependent Front Suspensions

When your suspension consists of only a solid bar under the front of the car than you probably are in for a bumpy ride. These systems have been outdated and for a number of reasons:

  • Shimmy – Well when one wheel is catching air and the other is firmly on the ground you are bound to get some steering issues. This can make your steering wheel veer right or left.
  • Alignment –The rigidity of their axis makes it impossible to adjust the alignment of your wheels.

Independent Front Suspension

The most popular system is the McPherson Strut, which is the most widely used in European cars. What you get with this is strut-like spring and shock absorber combination that pivots on a ball joint.

This has been a stint at summarizing some of the brilliant content that is available at check it out, I believe it’s the most comprehensive piece about car suspension I’ve ever read.

Do you have another classification system of suspension systems? Please do share your comments.

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Cris Shaki

Passionate about cars, tech, people, business, history, art & writing. I also enjoy being a graphic designer and web designer.

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