When you think about a car’s performance, you may think of horsepower and torque — but that power to accelerate is useless without control. And control is dictated by the quality of a vehicle’s suspension system. The suspension system provides steering stability and overall handling (or how your car responds when you steer it). It also reduces the shock generated between the road and the wheels. All of these things contribute to performance, and they help determine the comfort of the driver and passengers.
Even before the existence of the internal combustion engine, suspension systems existed. Past eras had the ox-drawn carts and horse-drawn carriages, but people were already attempting to minimize the effects of surfaces like cobblestone roads and uneven terrain.
The earliest patent for a spring suspension system arrived in 1804 thanks to British inventor Obadiah Elliot, and in 1901, the first shock absorbers with a dampened suspension were fitted on a motorized vehicle by Mors of Paris. Today, suspension systems consist of springs, shocks, and struts that absorb bumps and keep the vehicle stable.
Any damage to the system is usually easy for a driver to detect based on how a car ride feels, but figuring out what’s caused the damage usually requires a mechanic. And if the suspension problem isn’t fixed immediately, it can cause additional damage to your vehicle and make your car a hazard on the roadways.
Get your car checked immediately if it bounces or sways, or if you notice uneven wear on your tires. Also watch out for fluid leaking from you struts or shocks to ensure efficiency and safety.