Why Is Suspension Important In A Car? 

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Have you ever questioned yourself why suspension is important in a car? If yes, let’s first answer this shortly. Well, your car’s suspension system acts like a shield made up of bouncy springs and dampers. It ensures your ride stays safe and smooth by soaking up all the jolts and bumps from the road, keeping you comfy and carefree.

Now, think practically: you’re speeding down a winding mountain road and suddenly hit a bump that sends your entire body jolting upwards, but miraculously, your vehicle stays firmly planted on the pavement. 

Yes, this is what suspension does. From absorbing shocks to keeping the wheels in contact with the road, suspension is an unsung hero of automotive engineering. So, join us as we unravel why suspension holds an indispensable place in every car’s design and function.

What Is Suspension in a Car?

A car suspension refers to an intricate arrangement of components and technologies employed to manage the impact and vibration absorbed by the car while navigating various road conditions. 

The primary purpose of a suspension system is to enhance stability, control, and passenger comfort by minimizing oscillations caused by irregularities in the road surface.

It encompasses various parts strategically placed between the vehicle’s body and the wheels. These components work together to absorb shocks from the road surface and prevent excessive vibrations from reaching the passenger cabin.

Why Suspension Is Important in Cars 

Did you know that in 2018, around 150 road accidents occurred in Great Britain due to vehicle suspension and steering defects? Shockingly, these incidents resulted in the loss of 7 lives and left another 43 individuals with serious injuries. 

This alarming statistic should serve as a wake-up call about what can happen without suspensions in cars. However, that was a glimpse of safety concerns, but there are some other crucial aspects that signify why your car’s suspension is absolutely essential. Let’s focus on these aspects to provide further clarity.

Maintains Vehicle Geometry and Ride Height

The geometry of a vehicle also plays a vital role in its overall performance. Suspension components like control arms are responsible for controlling the wheel’s movement along its vertical axis while keeping it aligned with other wheels. 

This ensures consistent tire contact with the road, improving handling and stability. Additionally, anti-roll bars help maintain correct body lean during cornering by transferring force between both sides of an axle.

Ensures Optimum Driving Comfort

Car suspension is crucial in ensuring optimum comfort for both the driver and passengers. A well-designed suspension system absorbs the bumps and vibrations from the road, keeping the occupants isolated from rough terrain.

Furthermore, a properly functioning suspension system increases passenger comfort by reducing body roll and sway while turning or going over uneven surfaces. This means less strain on the body, preventing fatigue during long drives. By absorbing shocks and vibrations effectively, it minimizes jolts felt by passengers inside the car.

Improves Handling Capability

A well-designed car suspension system ensures exceptional handling capability and vehicle stability. They help to distribute weight evenly across all four wheels, enhancing overall stability during turns, braking, and accelerating.

Moreover, an effective suspension system contributes to overall vehicle dynamics and control. It helps distribute weight evenly across all four wheels during acceleration and deceleration processes. 

Without proper suspension support, weight transfer can be unevenly distributed on each wheel when braking or accelerating hard, a phenomenon known as chassis imbalance, leading to reduced control over steering response and compromised stability.

Ensures Optimum Performance

When it comes to vehicle performance, car suspension plays a pivotal role that often goes unnoticed by the average driver. As you take a turn at high speeds, forces are exerted on your vehicle that can cause it to lean to one side. A properly tuned suspension counters these lateral forces, keeping your car stable and improving its handling capabilities. 

The more stable your vehicle remains throughout sharp turns or sudden movements, the more confidently you can navigate challenging driving conditions.

Maintains Vehicle Safety

One important aspect of car suspension is its ability to always maintain tire contact with the road surface. Properly functioning shocks and struts keep the tires planted firmly on the ground, allowing for better traction and improved handling. 

Moreover, an efficient suspension system also enhances braking performance. When a driver applies the brakes, weight distribution shifts towards the front of the vehicle. 

A well-tuned suspension helps distribute this weight evenly among all four tires, maximizing their grip on the road surface for improved braking efficiency. This not only reduces stopping distances but also minimizes skidding or loss of control during emergency situations.

Besides, by minimizing body roll through properly tuned springs and shocks, the car’s balance can be maintained more effectively, enhancing overall vehicle safety.

The Science Behind How A Car Suspension Works

At its core, the suspension system aims to manage the energy generated by uneven road surfaces, ensuring that it is absorbed and dispersed efficiently. One key element of this system is the shock absorbers or dampers. 

Contrary to popular belief, their main purpose is not to absorb bumps but rather to control the oscillation caused by uneven terrain. Using hydraulic fluid and pistons, shock absorbers convert kinetic energy into thermal energy.

Another important component of a car’s suspension system is the springs. They work in conjunction with the shock absorbers to improve overall ride quality. Springs store potential energy as they compress under load on rough roads or when encountering obstacles. 

This stored energy aids in absorbing impacts, preventing excessive jolts from reaching the vehicle body or passengers inside. The dynamic interplay between these two components, shock absorbers, and springs, allows for efficient distribution and management of forces acting on a car’s suspension system during motion over irregular terrains. 

Main Components Of Suspension System in A Car

So basically, a suspension comprises a bunch of different parts with their uses. Different cars have been fitted with cool features to help out their suspensions. They add in these components to make sure the car works just right. Okay, let’s get into it and talk about what actually makes up a car suspension system.


The word “springs” has come up several times in our discussion previously. Let’s now pay more attention to this integral component in detail. Well, suspension springs are flexible components made from steel or other high-strength materials.

These springs are designed to absorb shocks, bumps, and vibrations that occur while driving and prevent them from directly transferring to the car’s cabin or affecting its stability.

There are different types of suspension springs commonly used in cars, each with specific characteristics that cater to various driving conditions and preferences. These include:

  • Coil spring – made of a tightly wound steel wire. Coil springs offer excellent durability and flexibility for a wide range of vehicle weights and driving applications. 
  • Leaf springs – consist of several layers of curved metal strips joined together. They are typically found in trucks and SUVs, providing maximum load-carrying capacity.
  • Torsion bar spring – uses a twisted metal bar instead of coiled wire. Torsion bars are known for their firmness and ability to handle heavy loads effectively. 
  • Air springs – often seen in luxury vehicles or high-performance cars, utilize compressed air to provide adjustable ride height and a cushioning effect during sudden maneuvers.

Dampers or Shock Absorbers

While suspension springs primarily bear the weight of the vehicle and absorb road shocks, dampers or shock absorbers are responsible for controlling the movement and dampening any oscillation caused by the springs. 

Shock absorbers consist of hydraulic cylinders filled with oil or gas, along with pistons that control fluid flow. These pistons allow for precise regulation of damping forces during compression and rebound cycles. 

From the functional point of view, they reduce excessive body movement caused by spring oscillations while maintaining proper tire contact with the road surface at all times. This means that even if you have soft suspension springs installed for improved comfort, you may experience excessive bouncing or rolling when driving over rough terrain without reliable shock absorbers.

Control Arms

Control arms play a crucial role in the suspension system of a car, as they connect the wheels to the chassis. These components are responsible for maintaining the precise positioning of the wheels, allowing them to move up and down while keeping them aligned with the vehicle’s body. 

They are typically made from strong, lightweight materials such as aluminum or steel, chosen for their durability and ability to withstand high stress levels. This ensures they can effectively handle the forces exerted on them during acceleration, braking, and cornering.

However, control arms can be configured in different ways that maximize performance and handling depending on the type of suspension system used in a vehicle. 

For example, some cars have an independent front suspension where each wheel has its control arm, while others may have a double wishbone setup that combines shock absorber and control arm functionality into one unit.

Sway Bars

Sway bars, also known as anti-roll or stabilizer bars, play a crucial role in a car’s suspension system. These seemingly small and inconspicuous components are responsible for enhancing a vehicle’s overall stability and handling characteristics. 

While shocks and springs absorb the vertical movement of the wheels, sway bars are responsible for controlling lateral movement. As a car enters a turn, weight transfer occurs, causing the body to lean towards the outside of the curve. This shift in weight can lead to reduced traction on the inside tires and compromise handling capabilities. 

Sway bars counteract this effect by connecting both sides of the suspension, resisting excessive body roll, and leveling out tire load distribution. However, sway bars are available in variable thicknesses. 

According to studies, thicker sway bars provide more resistance to body roll but can result in stiffer ride quality, while thinner ones offer improved comfort but less control during aggressive driving. 

In addition, there are various types of sway bars used in modern cars. Their suitability or application varies depending on different cars, as shown in the table below:

Type of sway barSuitable for
SolidModern cars for daily commuting
HollowHigh-performance cars
SplitRacing and high-overall performance cars
AdjustableTracks and daily commuting cars


The knuckle, also known as the upright or hub assembly, plays a vital role in connecting the wheel and tire to the rest of the suspension. It acts as a link between various components like control arms, tie rods, and shock absorbers.

In addition to providing support and stability, the knuckle allows for vertical movement of the wheels, which is necessary for smooth handling and comfortable ride quality. 

Ball Joint

The ball joint is a pivot point that connects the control arm and steering knuckle, allowing for smooth movement and transfer of forces. The design of a ball joint consists of a spherical bearing encased within a metal housing with a threaded stud. 

The spherical bearing allows for rotational movement in multiple directions, accommodating the various dynamics encountered during driving.

In operation, the ball joint transfers the forces exerted by the wheels to the suspension system and, ultimately, to the chassis. This transfer of forces enables efficient vehicle handling, stability, and improved ride comfort. 

Types of Suspension Systems: Comparing Different Designs

So, we’ve been talking about the nifty parts that make up a car’s suspension system. Well, these parts can actually vary depending on what kind of suspension your car is equipped with. 

Now you might be wondering: are all types of suspensions equally effective for every car out there? We will discuss the common types of suspension systems used in cars to ensure your comprehensive understanding of this matter. 

Generally, car suspension systems are categorized under two major types, these are:

  • Dependent suspension systems
  • Independent suspension systems

Dependent Suspension Systems

The dependent suspension system is one of the most common and widely used types of car suspension systems. This system is also known as a solid axle or beam axle, consisting of a single rigid beam that connects both wheels on an axle. Unlike independent suspension systems, the dependent suspension system allows both wheels to move together as one unit instead of independently. 

Since there are fewer moving parts and no complex mechanisms, the dependent suspension system is less prone to wear and tear. It can easily handle heavy loads and uneven terrains, making it an ideal choice for off-road vehicles or commercial trucks.

However, the dependence on a single beam means that any movement or impact affecting one wheel will be transferred directly to the other. This can result in a rougher ride and less stability than independent suspension systems. 

Additionally, because both wheels are connected through a solid beam, any adjustments made on one side will affect the alignment of the other side. Some standard dependent suspension systems include:

  • Solid axle suspension
  • Torsion beam suspension
  • Trailing arm suspension
  • Leaf spring suspension

Independent Suspension Systems

Independent suspension systems are often considered to be the gold standard when it comes to providing a smooth and comfortable ride. Unlike solid axle suspensions, which connect both wheels on an axle together, independent systems allow each wheel to move independently of the other.

This means that uneven road surfaces or bumps in the terrain are absorbed by individual wheels rather than transmitted across the entire suspension system. By allowing each wheel to move independently, this type of system provides better traction and control, particularly during cornering or sudden maneuvers. 

Consequently, you get a safer and more stable driving experience. Additionally, independent systems can be designed in various configurations and with different types of components, such as control arms or wishbones. 

This allows automakers to tailor their cars’ suspension systems for optimal performance, whether sporty handling or a smooth ride. In modern cars, we notice the following types of independent suspension systems:

  • MacPherson strut
  • Double wishbone or A-arm suspension
  • Multi-link suspension
  • Air suspension

The table below has all major suspension variants side by side, along with the common cars they’re used in:

Suspension NameTypeUsed in 
Solid axle suspensionDependentOff-roader SUVs such as: Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen Ford Bronco
Torsion beam suspensionDependentRarely used in Mercedes Sprinter van Volvo crossover vehicles
Trailing arm suspensionDependentMid to high-range sedans like the 3-series Mercedes 560SECPorsche 911
Leaf spring suspensionDependentAlmost all modern cars such as GT3 and GT3 RSBoxster and Cayman BMW M3sHonda Civic Type R
MacPherson strutIndependentHigh-performance cars and sporty sedans like Rover TFLancia Delta S4Mercedes-BenzHonda AccordToyota Tundra 
Double wishbone or A-arm suspensionIndependentExpensive and luxurious cars, especially SUVs like Jeep Grand CherokeeLexus GX 4602018 Volvo XC902018 Audi Q72018 Mercedes-Benz
Multi-link suspensionIndependentMost modern sports cars and luxury vehicles, such asFord Mustang GTBMW’s 7 Series)
Air suspensionIndependent Expensive and luxurious cars, especially SUVs like Jeep Grand Cherokee Lexus GX 4602018 Volvo XC902018 Audi Q72018 Mercedes-Benz

Car Suspension Problems And Their Impact Sign

So, as we mentioned earlier, if your car’s suspension system is acting up or not functioning properly, you could end up in dangerous situations. Therefore, we will now delve into several prevalent suspension issues and their corresponding implications, which you need to be acquainted with.

Uneven Tire Wear

If the suspension system is not aligned or working correctly, it can make the weight on the tires uneven, causing them to wear out quickly and in an irregular way. One reason for this problem is when the shock absorbers are worn out or damaged. 

Another factor contributing to uneven tire wear is misalignment of the suspension system. If any part of the suspension, such as control arms, tie rods, or bushings, becomes bent or damaged, it can throw off the alignment of your vehicle’s wheels. 

The effects of uneven tire wear due to suspension problems go far beyond having to replace tires sooner than expected. It can significantly impact your vehicle’s handling and safety. Unevenly worn tires create an imbalance in traction and stability when driving at high speeds or during sudden maneuvers. 

This puts you at a higher risk of skidding and losing control on wet or slippery surfaces. Moreover, it negatively affects fuel efficiency since irregular tread patterns increase rolling resistance and require more power from your engine.

Excessive Bouncing

Excessive bouncing is a common suspension problem that many drivers come across. It can be frustrating and uncomfortable, making the driving experience less enjoyable. There are several potential reasons for excessive bouncing, including worn-out shocks or struts, improper wheel alignment, and uneven tire wear.

One consequence of excessive bouncing is reduced vehicle control. When your car bounces excessively, it becomes more difficult to steer and maneuver effectively. This can be particularly dangerous in emergency situations or when navigating sharp turns. 

Additionally, excessive bouncing puts unnecessary strain on other components of the suspension system, leading to premature wear and tear. Ultimately, neglecting this issue can result in expensive repairs down the line.

Steering Difficulty

When your suspension system is not functioning properly, it can directly impact your vehicle’s handling. You may notice that your steering wheel feels loose or unresponsive, making it harder to navigate turns and maintain control.

Suspension problems such as worn-out shocks or struts can cause uneven weight distribution and imbalance the car’s handling. This can make the vehicle feel unstable, especially when turning or cornering at higher speeds. Additionally, damaged control arms or tie rod ends can affect the alignment of the tires, causing further steering difficulties.

Pulling to One Side

One of the common suspension problems that every car owner dreads is the pulling to one side issue. This problem can manifest as a slight drift towards the left or right side of the road when driving in a straight line. While it may seem minor, this issue can significantly affect your suspension system.

First and foremost, pulling to one side indicates an imbalance in your suspension’s alignment. When your wheels are not properly aligned, uneven tire wear is bound to occur. This decreases the lifespan of your tires and compromises their overall performance and safety on the road. 

Dipping When Braking

This refers to the vehicle’s front end dipping down significantly when the brakes are applied, creating an uncomfortable and unnerving driving experience. While some may dismiss this issue as a mere annoyance, it can have profound implications for safety and performance.

When a car dips excessively when braking, it impacts the driver’s ability to maintain control of the vehicle and increases the stopping distance. This poses a significant risk, especially in emergency situations where every second counts. Furthermore, the repeated stress placed on other components, such as shocks and struts, can lead to premature wear and tear.

How to Maintain Suspension System in A Car – Expert Tips

Taking good care of your car involves paying attention to all the different systems that keep it running smoothly. And when it comes to maintaining a well-functioning car, don’t forget your car’s suspension system. Here are some expert tips to maintain your suspension at its best. 

Regularly Inspect Suspension System Parts

Inspecting the suspension system parts regularly is crucial for maintaining your car’s overall performance and safety. One important component to inspect is the shocks or struts. 

Another part that requires regular inspection is the control arm bushings. Over time, these bushings can wear out or become damaged, leading to various issues, such as excessive vibration, noise, and reduced handling capabilities. 

By checking them periodically, you can identify any signs of wear or damage early on. Moreover, don’t forget to pay attention to the ball joints in your suspension system during inspections.

Monitor Tire Pressure and Tread Condition

Maintaining proper tire inflation is vital in safeguarding your suspension system from potential damage. Insufficient air pressure compromises handling and performance and has long-term implications on fuel efficiency. 

Moreover, neglecting tire maintenance by allowing air levels to become too low jeopardizes your vehicle’s safety. In case you lack an automated tire pressure monitoring system that alerts you about deviations from normal levels, it is recommended to manually check the pressure approximately every thousand miles to ensure adequate inflation. 

Simultaneously evaluating the tread condition is equally important during this process and can be conveniently done using the commonly referred penny test. This becomes especially critical when navigating through challenging weather conditions like rain, snowfall, or icy surfaces, as it increases the likelihood of losing control over your vehicle

Check Wheel Alignment Periodically

Making sure your wheels are properly aligned is key to having a smooth ride no matter where you’re driving. It’s all about staying safe on the road, no matter the weather or terrain you’re dealing with. Don’t forget to check out your owner’s manual for guidance on how often you should get an alignment done, especially if your daily drive tends to be rougher than usual!

Perform A Complete Inspection After Any Collision 

So you’ve had a little fender bender with your car? So, better check out that rear suspension and make sure everything’s alright. And don’t forget about those brakes and tires; if they’re acting up, you might end up having some serious steering issues. 

Your ride will start pulling to one side instead of going straight ahead.  If only you had known this before that gnarly crash, you might have avoided wrecking your whole suspension system. Even if your car looks fine on the outside, those shocks could be leaking and causing more problems than you think.


How often should suspension be checked?

Regular maintenance checks are recommended every 12 months or 12,000 miles, but you should also pay attention to any changes in ride quality or handling between inspections.

Can car suspension be modified for better performance?

Yes, modifying your car’s suspension can improve handling characteristics such as cornering ability and responsiveness, enhancing overall performance. However, it should be done by a professional mechanic and ensure that your warranty will not be voided if you’re under coverage.

How many km does the suspension last?

The lifespan of a suspension system varies depending on factors like driving conditions, maintenance practices, and vehicle make/model. On average, suspensions can last anywhere between 50,000 to 100,000 miles.

Which is better soft or stiff suspension?

If you go for a softer suspension, you’ll get a better grip because it keeps those tires glued down when you hit bumps, potholes, or other road irregularities. But if you opt for a stiff suspension, it might not handle those road imperfections as smoothly as its softer counterpart.

Final Words

So, you might have realized that the suspension system in a car is crucial for several reasons. From ensuring ride comfort to giving a safe journey, the suspension has its role in various aspects of your driving. Therefore, it is essential to prioritize regular inspections and maintenance of your car’s suspension to ensure optimal performance and safety on the road.