Exception in rendering!

Message: window is not defined

ReferenceError: window is not defined
    at new c (/tmp/execjs20161209-8827-18g9yk9js:136:3912)
    at m.mountComponent (/tmp/execjs20161209-8827-18g9yk9js:47:15602)
    at /tmp/execjs20161209-8827-18g9yk9js:49:31860
    at a.r.perform (/tmp/execjs20161209-8827-18g9yk9js:47:12503)
    at Object.a [as renderToString] (/tmp/execjs20161209-8827-18g9yk9js:49:31821)
    at r (/tmp/execjs20161209-8827-18g9yk9js:50:21164)
    at Object.S.ReactOnRails.serverRenderReactComponent (/tmp/execjs20161209-8827-18g9yk9js:32:6073)
    at eval (eval at <anonymous> (/tmp/execjs20161209-8827-18g9yk9js:173:8), <anonymous>:10:23)
    at eval (eval at <anonymous> (/tmp/execjs20161209-8827-18g9yk9js:173:8), <anonymous>:17:3)
    at /tmp/execjs20161209-8827-18g9yk9js:173:8

What Components of the Suspension or Steering Systems Are Prone to Fail?

suspension steering fail

In automotive usage, the term "suspension" refers to all of the parts that connect the vehicle to the road. Every car, truck, and utility vehicle has a suspension that is designed to do three things:

  • Support the vehicle
  • Absorb bumps and other shocks
  • Allow the vehicle to turn in response to steering input from the driver

Modern suspensions are composed of hundreds of different parts, and vehicles vary tremendously in their suspension designs, but every suspension is composed of certain major subsystems, some of which are more prone to failure than others. The major types of suspension components and systems, and how prone they are to failure, are:

Wheels and tires

Tires aren’t always considered part of the suspension, but they’re arguably the most important component of it. Tires provide traction for acceleration, braking, and cornering, and they absorb small bumps.

Tires wear over time, and are subject to cuts and punctures from hitting sharp objects, and to slow or sudden leaks from impacts. On the other hand, wheels fail (from bending or cracking) much less often, usually only in response to hard impacts from accidents or hitting potholes.

Springs

Every car and truck today has some sort of mechanism to absorb large bumps, and this always includes some form of spring, a metal part that bends in response to force. (A few cars over the years, particular those made by Chrysler, have used torsion bars — metal rods that absorb impacts by twisting instead of bending — instead of coil or leaf springs, but these are all different forms of spring.)

Springs can sometimes break when the vehicle hits a bump very hard, and many will sag eventually (after many years), but in general these parts are much less prone to failure than most other suspension components.

Shock absorbers and struts

While springs absorb the bumps, shock absorbers (or, in cars that have them, struts, which are similar to shocks) dampen the motion of the springs after a bump, keeping the vehicle from bouncing excessively.

Shocks and struts are filled with a thick oil, and over time the oil can leak out, causing the shock or strut to fail. Impacts and accidents can also cause leakage or can damage delicate internal parts.

Linkages

Every suspension includes various rods and other connecting pieces that collectively keep the wheels where they’re supposed to be relative to the rest of the vehicle. Most of these linkages are solid metal parts that rarely fail except in major accidents. However, sometimes linkages and associated bushings are sold together, and the failure of a bushing can necessitate replacing the whole assembly.

Bushings, bearings, and joints

Because most parts of any suspension must be movable, the various linkages are connected by flexible connections. These include bushings and bearings, which are connections that allow a small amount of twisting or sliding, often without needing lubrication, and joints, which in automotive applications often use a lubricant such as grease to allow for controlled movement.

Some suspension bushings are made of rubber, which can become brittle or break over time, leading to failure. Many joints tend to wear out, leading initially to looseness and eventually to failure. A couple of the most common culprits are tie rod ends, which are lubricated joints that connects certain steering linkage parts, ball joints, which are found in both the steering system and attached to the control arms, and the bushings that separate the control arms from the vehicle’s frame.

Steering system — all types

Every steering systems contains numerous linkages, some joints such as the tie rod ends mentioned above, and some sort of steering box, the mechanical device that converts rotation of the steering wheel into movement of the car’s wheels.

In general, linkages aren’t very likely to fail, while components such as tie rod ends are. Steering boxes wear out eventually, with rack-and-pinion steering systems in vehicles equipped with hydraulic power steering being the most failure prone.

Hydraulic power steering

Many vehicles are equipped with power steering. Of the two types of power steering, hydraulic systems (i.e., those that use a high-pressure fluid to help the driver turn the wheels) are more failure-prone. Fluid can leak from high-pressure lines, delicate valves occasionally wear out, the belt that drives the power steering pump can loosen or break, and eventually the pump itself may fail.

Electric power steering

More and more power steering systems found in modern cars and trucks are electric, not hydraulic. Electric power steering systems include various sensors, wires, and actuators (motors), any of which can fail, but luckily such failures are less common than failures of hydraulic components.

That’s a lot of parts, but it can be simplified into the following rule of thumb: softer parts wear out more quickly than harder ones, and wet ones more than dry ones. Thus, for example, a soft rubber bushing that has to change shape with every bump will probably need replacement (from wear or complete failure) before a solid metal rod will, and a shock absorber that contains fluid is more likely to fail than a metal spring.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.

ASK A QUESTION

More related articles

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Flexible Clutch Hose
Common signs include difficulty shifting, low clutch fluid, and feeling no resistance at the clutch pedal.
How to Find the Keyless Code on a Ford Explorer or Mercury Mountaineer
Many Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers were manufactured with an option known as the Ford keyless entry keypad. Some models refer to it as SecuriCode as well. It...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...


Related questions

Q: Thumping sounds while driving over sharp bumps

The only part you did not mention and the most likely cause of the problem is the inside lower control bushings which could possibly be bad. I would also check the steering gear mount bushings for excessive wear. Both of...

Q: The engine loses power after accident, warning lights on

The engine computer will need to be tested to see the codes received. There is a problem in the system that is causing the computer to go into failure mode and limit the throttle opening. Considering the fact that you...

Q: Random steering wheel shake.

Hi there. In most cases, when you experience a severe shake and vibration all of the sudden it's actually caused by road conditions. If the shake and vibration went away and has not returned while driving the same speed, you...