What to Do When You Encounter a Noisy Suspension During Auto Mechanic Training
A noisy suspension is not only a nuisance for drivers, it also poses a safety risk. A car’s suspension system works to provide a smooth and comfortable ride by absorbing any shocks and vibrations on the road. When driving over bumps, potholes or rough terrain, the suspension is particularly useful. However, this is also when a driver might notice clunks and rattles with the system, indicating a potential problem.
Troubleshooting a noisy suspension is a lot more complicated than repairing a single part. As a mechanic, you’ll be dealing with a whole system of parts that affect each other. If one part is out of whack, the sound can echo across the whole body of the vehicle, making it difficult to locate the source. To get you started, here are some tips for handling suspension noise as an auto mechanic.
Locate the Cause of the Noise
The first step to handling a noisy suspension is to identify the source. Knowing the parts of the suspension system inside and out is a good starting point. Struts, leaf spring shackles, control arms, ball joints and shock absorbers are all important components of the suspension–and all of them are prone to wear and tear.
If a client comes to you complaining of noise when driving over bumps, it could be caused by a loose nut on the strut, a bend in the leaf springs or dirt trapped in the ball joint. You may also find that the bushing on the shock absorber has cracked. Many of these parts will create a noise when the steering is turned.
Students in auto mechanic school will cover the operation and servicing of suspension systems. Here, you’ll learn about the many different parts of a suspension system and the problems they can cause.
Use Your Auto Mechanic Training to Inspect the Different Parts
If you think you know what the cause of a noisy suspension might be, the easiest way to confirm is to perform a visual inspection. You’ll need to know what to look for when examining the different components. For example, if you think the strut mounts are the problem, you should look for separation between the rubber and metal. The rubber should be intact with no cracks, and the strut mount should move freely when you push down on the fender. Likewise, if you suspect the spring isolators are the cause, you should check the rubber between the springs and the perches for signs of wear. Lastly, you’ll want to check the power steering fluid is at the correct level and free of bubbles.
Check the Vehicle for Excessive Movement
As a professional with auto mechanic training, you’ll know how to perform diagnostics tests to get a better idea of what’s behind a noisy suspension. For example, you can shift the transmission from drive to reverse while applying the brakes to check for engine movement. While this isn’t directly related to the suspension, it will allow you to rule out whether the noise is coming from the motor or transmission, which can be easily confused for suspension problems.
You can also check the vehicle’s movement while cornering. The sway bar (a spring that controls the movement of the body) will cause the vehicle to roll if it’s disconnected. By knowing how to diagnose and repair a noisy suspension system, you can offer your clients a safer, more comfortable drive.
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