Q: What do I need to do to maintain my suspension?

asked by on November 17, 2015

What do I need to do to maintain my suspension?

Proper vehicle maintenance is the key to getting long life out of your vehicle. From oil changes to tune ups, most people keep up on these maintenance items to ensure that their car performs well. Your suspension is no different when it comes to maintenance. Consisting of a number of different components that serve different purposes, your suspension can have failures that can be costly. Many times these repairs can be prevented or minimized if the suspension is properly maintained. Knowing what to look for can help you if you’d like to do your own maintenance and can help you to identify underlying problems.

A thorough visual inspection is the best maintenance that you can do on a suspension system. Taking an in-depth look at all of the suspension parts can help you to identify a part that may fail soon. The suspension should be inspected at every oil change. This is assuming that there are no other issues or odd noises in between oil changes.

With the vehicle in the air, all of the rubber bushings need to be inspected. There are typically bushings on the control arms, sway bars, track bars, strut rods, and any number of other parts. These parts should be checked for any cracking, oil contamination, swelling, or if they are simply missing. If there is a small amount of oil on any bushing, it should be cleaned off immediately and any oil leaks should be repaired.

Oil is the most common cause of bushing failure with age coming in second. If a bushing has oil on it, a good degreaser should be used to get the contamination off. Failure to do so will allow the bushing to soften which ultimately leads to failure. If any them show any of these signs, then the bushing(s) should be replaced.

The suspension will typically also have some ball-type joints. They are used in the ball joints on the suspension as well as the tie rod ends and the stabilizer link pins. These should be checked for ripped rubber boots and excessive freeplay. These joints should be nice and tight.

Some of them may have grease fittings on them. This is more common on trucks than it is on cars. If the joints have these fittings they can be greased at every oil change with a grease gun.

The shocks or struts should also be routinely inspected. These are typically inspected visually. If there is oil leaking from them, then they need to be replaced. If you notice that the shocks or struts are wet, then they should be replaced.

The suspension should also be checked physically. With the vehicle on the ground a bounce test can be performed. Push the vehicle up and down and see how many times it bounces before it stops. Any more than two bounces means that the struts or shocks are worn out and need to be replaced.

These simple inspections apply to the front and the rear of most vehicles. If your vehicle has been lifted or lowered or has any other suspension modifications, then you should inspect the suspension more often. Changes to the suspension will cause all of the suspension components to sit at angles that they are not designed for, which will cause them to wear out prematurely. It is a good idea to upgrade your suspension parts to heavy duty or polyurethane if the vehicle is modified.

Staying on top of your suspension is important if you want to get long life out of your vehicle and prevent costly issues. Failure to identify failing parts before they become problems can cause multiple related parts to fail and can cause some serious tire wear issues.

In the instance that you do find worn out parts, you should replace them with good quality parts. Cheap aftermarket parts will fail prematurely and will end up costing you extra time and money. Using good quality parts and having suspension components properly installed by a certified mechanic, like one from YourMechanic, will ensure a longer life for your suspension.

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

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

What others are asking

Taking my sway bar out.

On the 2004 Ion you have to remove the rear transaxle mount and the steering gear. Then, once all links and brackets holding the bar to the body and suspension are removed you have to lift and rotate the stabilizer...

My front left tire

If the tire's internal cords are damaged it can cause a wobble. Another possibility is that the rim is bent. You should replace the tire or rim if either are proven to be damaged. If the weights came off then...

2012 BMW 535xi shakes at 50 mph when braking

If you've had both sets of rotors replaced, then I will assume the brakes are not the problem. Other issues that would cause the problem you are having include worn wheel bearings, worn steering or suspension parts, or tires that...

How do you reset the Maintenance Minder?

There are many reasons that you might need to know how to reset the Maintenance Minder™ in your car. Maybe you changed the oil yourself, or maybe you took it to a shop and they forgot to reset it. By...

Car wobbles

Hi, check the rim and see if it is damaged at all. You may have hit the rim and the body of the car will be fine. The wheel however is misaligned, especially if the steering wheel is wobbling a...

When I turn the steering, the right tire has noise. I hear it whenever I am turning the steering

Hi there. From the description you have provided, when you turn the steering, the right tire has noise, whenever turning the steering, and needs to be diagnosed. For a problem like this, it could be an axle shaft CV joint...

Clunking noise from rear suspension

It is possible that you could have some play in your rear control arm bushings or rear toe adjustment links. I would recommend having a rear suspension inspection performed by a qualified professional to determine where the noise is coming...

Flat tire, not sure what to do

Hello, thanks for writing in. You should not drive the car on the flat tire or else you will ruin the tire and rim. You should have a spare tire in the trunk that can be put on in the...

What tires should I get for a 2006 Mazda tribute?

Tires are a very subjective topic. It is very important to start your research for tires with asking yourself a few pertinent questions. How many miles will the tires need to last? What is an acceptable price? What kind of...

Related articles

What Is the Difference Between Sprung Weight and Unsprung Weight?
Car Car aficionados, particularly those involved with racing, sometimes talk about “sprung” and “unsprung” weight (or mass). What do these terms mean? The spring is the suspension component that holds the vehicle up and cushions it and its occupants and...
How Do I Make My Tires Last Longer?
When When you buy a new vehicle or a new set of tires for your current vehicle, there is nothing like the experience of a quiet drive and confident traction. Unfortunately, that experience doesn’t last forever. Road noise begins to...
What Advantages Do Aftermarket Suspension Components Offer?
Most Most modern cars’ and trucks’ suspensions are carefully designed to ensure adequate performance under a variety of conditions. Still, every suspension represents numerous compromises, as manufacturers must design their cars for a variety of needs and conditions while ensuring...