Underestimated dangers of suspension

Underestimated dangers of suspension

WHAT HEAVY WORK: the suspension of the car weighs all the weight and must be gentle. The dampers, which are most often hydraulic, suffer the most from the difficult tasks. Wet flooring can lead to dangerous aquaplaning much earlier. As a whole, wear and tear wear is also accelerated. It also reduces the impact of assist systems such as ABS and ESP. They soften the fluctuations that result from the weight of the vehicle and the springs, so that the wheels do not lose contact with the road surface. Therefore, their more precise name is a quencher of fluctuations. The task of the springs is to prevent the impact of the unevenness on the road surface from reaching the passengers. Without shock absorbers, after each unevenness the springs would jump up and down like a ball. But over time, their performance decreases, while in case of damaged shock absorbers the tires do not start jumping and lose contact with the road. This has fatal consequences: uncontrolled shake of the body, which prevents safe driving. On uneven road surfaces, the braking path is extended. Wheels may lose contact with the flooring that suffers side guiding the tires, and this is dangerous in the curves.

Permanent load on the dampers results in creeping wear, which often goes unnoticed for years. The most common cause of a defect: oil leakage. They are readily recognizable by the oily spots on the damping housing. Unfortunate for drivers is that in practice dampers never deny suddenly. Only drivers are the ones who can judge whether wear is a security risk. Experts estimate that about 15 percent of German road vehicles are driven by worn or damaged shock absorbers - that's over 6 million vehicles!

This moving danger can be prevented by a simple check:"At the latest after the first 60,000 to 80,000 kilometers the dampers must be checked on a stand and then every 20,000 kilometers,"recommends the suspension specialist from the ZF . "If it was up to me, every car would have a warning lamp to report damaged shock absorbers or broken steering tips."

Odd behavior on the road and unusual sounds are often an indicator of other damaged components of the suspension that are subject to wear. Tampons and hinges suffer because of the rising weight of cars. In general, it can be said: when knocking or thumping is heard, the wheel stays naked or the car's behavior is"sneaky", the suspension must be urgently examined by a specialist so you can continue to move safely and comfortably. The subsequent front and rear axle alignment provides optimal adjustments, less tire wear and better braking deceleration. For the wear of the hinges and steering bushings, the curve strikes, the holes in the pavement and any off-road movement also contribute. Emerging strikes do not remain unpunished. For example, rudder bumpers can lead to worsening of course stability - which the driver will not even feel at first. The results are worsened suspension geometry and restless behavior on the road. In the worst case, a wheel may remain completely unmanageable. These dangers were also evident in our tests: we drove a Mercedes E 220 CDI T (W 211, first registration 11/2006) on the test track with highly worn suspension components. After mounting new suspension components such as shock absorbers, springs, hinges and steering tips and subsequent geometry adjustment, we again tested the same car and compared the results. Thanks to ESP, despite the worn-out suspension, the E-Class was quite decent, but there was a strong lag in the course, comfort and braking stability.


Sometimes a squeak is heard, and the stability of our test car is not optimal. That's no wonder, the 11-year-old Mercedes has already turned 220,000 kilometers. You get feedback from the steering, the car is better off with changing the dynamic center of gravity, the long waves on the pavement are swallowed more confidently. Passive security has been restored, and with it the gentle comfort of a ride. Otherwise on the way to Contidrom it moves quite well. There we are surprised at the suspension - 38 meters is the peak value, which is probably due to modern tires. On the comfort assessment section, however, we start to doubt the behavior of the road: shaft caps and short joints cause heavy blows. And at the long waves on the pavement, the back is firmly tilted. Even more serious is the situation on the route to assess the manageability: the heavy wagon turns hard and its management is not precise. The steering is not informative, and when the rear axle is stopped, it is displaced laterally. After the suspension is repaired, all this disappears. Naturally, Benz is not a sports car, but is already much better controlled in border mode.

Underestimated suspension hazards 1 Tests were conducted with Conti PremiumContact 5 tires Underestimated hazards of suspension 2 Precise: the car passes purely through S-bends without the need for many adjustments Underestimated dangers of suspension 3 Tapping is gone: the unevenness and the joints in the car are now quiet and calm


The real shock comes to the hoist: the dampers, hinges, crossbars, and steering tips of the test car are broken down, in some cases, to life's danger. To our surprise, even in this state, the Mercedes was moving too well. Therefore, a thorough inspection of the suspension at regular intervals is mandatory as, for a reliable view of wear results, most components must first be dismantled. For example, we have found that the yellow-like grease of copper in the hinge of one of the hinges has become a solid black mass. And this can not ensure a safe ride on the wheel. So when you visit the workshop for symptoms such as a stinging wheel, stuttering and screeching or"slobbering"behavior on the road, the problems are getting bigger. Not with all suspension repairs you can handle yourself, as special tools and presses are often needed, as well as a hoist or canal.

Underestimated dangers of suspension 4 Caution: A spring clamp is required to replace the shock absorber

Underestimated dangers of suspension 5 The lug in the steering head prevents good steering of the wheels Underestimated hazards of suspension 6 Final finishing: After suspension repairs, geometry adjustment is required Underestimated suspension dangers 7 Mounting of suspension components is a job for service professionals


Safety first! Suspension must be regularly inspected by a specialist. When purchasing a used car, careful inspection is mandatory so you do not have to deal with expensive repairs. Such service is offered by almost all repairers. But especially in multirame constructions, there are many hidden defects that can make the car unmanageable in dangerous situations.