6 Common Suspension Problems and How to Spot Them

  • December 2, 2022
image of mechanic repairing suspension system of a car image of mechanic repairing suspension system of a car

The suspension system in your vehicle keeps your tires on the road and your wheels in line. The suspension system is made up of several components that work together to give you a smooth ride. 

Some parts include the shocks and springs that absorb impacts from the dips and bumps in the road, and bushings, joints, and bearings that allow components like the sway bars to twist and move with the vehicle. The suspension also works with the steering system to set the angle of the wheels — the camber, caster, and toe angles — to help your vehicle drive straight. 

When all the parts of your suspension system are functioning correctly, you likely won’t give them any thought. However, one damaged part can cause several issues. Here are six common signs that your vehicle has a suspension problem.

1. Pulling to One Side

Your vehicle pulling to one side can be a sure sign there’s a problem with your suspension. If one or more of your suspension components is damaged or malfunctioning, such as the struts, springs, joints, or bearings, it can affect your vehicle’s alignment. 

However, damaged components may not always be the culprit for your vehicle pulling to the side. You may notice pulling if your wheels aren’t aligned. While wheel alignment can be impacted by the suspension system — the camber and caster angles are set by suspension system components — something as simple as driving over a pothole can cause your wheels to become unaligned. 

If you’ve recently hit a big bump or a pothole and your vehicle is pulling to one side or the steering wheel is off center, schedule an appointment at your local Firestone Complete Auto Care. Our professionals will check to see if a wheel alignment service is necessary.

2. Bouncing on Bumps and Dips

If your vehicle has suspension issues, you may feel nearly every bump and dip while driving. Suspension components like springs and shocks absorb any impacts from uneven roads, so you feel it a lot less in the driver’s seat. Damaged struts or coil springs may not dampen those impacts properly, causing your vehicle to feel like a trampoline after each dip or bump.

3. One Side or Corner Feels Lower

Your suspension system doesn’t just help give you a smooth ride. It also helps support your vehicle. If one or more suspension components are damaged, such as a blown out shock or weak springs, you may feel your vehicle is sitting lower on one corner or side. It may even be visible from the outside of your car as well.

4. Dipping When Braking

Is your suspension system having issues? You’ll likely notice your front end dipping excessively when braking. When you brake, the forward momentum combined with your vehicle's weight sends a lot of force to the front end of the vehicle. 

A bad car suspension can cause all of that weight and force to push the front end downward. You may even feel a rocking motion once you’ve come to a stop as the weight of your vehicle evens back out.

5. Difficulty Steering

The steering system is directly tied to your vehicle’s suspension. If something in the suspension system goes wrong, you will likely feel it when you steer. You may notice your vehicle pulling to one side, for example.

Suspension system issues can cause steering problems, but they can also come from several other factors. Low or leaking power steering fluid, worn steering column bushings, or a failing power steering pump can all cause this problem. Regardless, driving with steering issues is unsafe. Bring your vehicle to your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care as soon as possible to diagnose and resolve problems with your steering and handling.

6. Rolling to the Side When Cornering

Similar to dipping when braking, your vehicle may roll to the side when you corner with car suspension issues. Without the right support, the weight of your vehicle can shift more dramatically when you turn, making it feel like your vehicle is rolling to one side. 

Suspension Issues? Trust the Experts at Firestone

If any of these bad suspension symptoms sound familiar, it’s time to bring your vehicle to your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care for expert repairs. Whether your shocks are worn, the springs aren’t working, or you’re in need of a wheel alignment, our professional technicians can diagnose and fix your suspension problems. 

Schedule your next visit online or locate your nearest repair shop to call for an appointment time that works for you.

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