A Look at Car Suspension Systems for Future Automotive Maintenance Technicians
April 26, 2017
Suspension systems play a major role in the way a vehicle functions. Without a fully-functional suspension system, a vehicle would suffer immense damage from the constant impact of its tires adjusting to road conditions, and the vehicle’s passengers would have an uncomfortable ride. Therefore, it’s extremely important for students in mechanic training to learn how these systems work and how to service them.
Read on for a sneak peek of what you may learn about suspension systems during your mechanic program!
Automotive Maintenance Technicians Know the Purpose of Suspension Systems
Because even the most freshly paved roads have bumps and irregularities, a car’s suspension is always needed to smooth the vehicle’s contact with the road. Suspension systems are there to provide an even ride for passengers, stability so the driver can steer safely, and friction between the vehicle’s tires and the surface of the road.
A car’s suspension is always necessary because when a car drives over something like a bump or rock, the force causes the vehicle’s tires to move upwards. If there was no suspension system, the tires would bang up against the car and the car would rattle. This is not only bad for the car, but dangerous for passengers.
Automotive Maintenance Technicians Know the 3 Main Components of Suspension Systems
While a car’s suspension should be considered a complex vehicle system, it is generally made up of just two main components: springs and dampers.
There are three kinds of springs that professionals with careers in the auto industry may encounter: coil, torsion bars, and leaf springs. While each of these spring types comes with its own unique design, they all share the same purpose: to take the kinetic energy away from a vehicle’s wheels when it passes over an uneven part of the road. The springs then pass the energy—which causes the spring to contract and spring up—to the shock absorber.
In suspension systems, the shock absorber is most commonly known and referred to as the damper. Dampers are an extremely important part of the suspension, because without them the springs would just keep bouncing over and over again until all the kinetic energy was dissipated. As you can imagine, this would create a very uncomfortable driving experience. Dampers help absorb energy from the springs and dissipate it in a safe, even, and discreet way.
Automotive Maintenance Technicians Know the Main Types of Suspension Systems
There are several different types of suspension systems, and some are more common than others. Depending on the type of vehicles you work on, their age, and model, you could encounter any one of them during your career as an automotive maintenance technician. Suspension systems are categorized as being dependant or independent, and can fall into one of the following categories:
- Dependant Front Suspensions: The two front wheels are attached with a solid bar. These types of systems are fairly uncommon in modern cars, and are most common in trucks.
- Independent Front Suspensions: The suspension system is at the front of the car, but the wheels are not attached by a bar, and they move and react independently.
- Dependant Rear Suspension: The two back wheels are attached with a solid bar. These types of systems are considered fairly simple, and thus are used widely by American vehicle manufacturers
- Independent Rear Suspensions: Rear independent systems are similar to front independent systems. However, rear systems are much simpler, because they don’t include the pinion gear wheel.
Each type of suspension system comes with its own merits. Dependant systems may offer more stabilization on both sides of the car, because the bar transfers the shock from one wheel to the other. On the other hand, independent systems allow each side of the car to adjust to its own driving conditions.
Want to learn more about interesting vehicle parts like suspension systems?
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