Suspension Parts and Systems
Suspension and chassis parts make up the physical framework that supports a vehicle’s mobility, and they are fundamental to its operation. The suspension system’s primary use is to enable a vehicle to travel comfortably over bumps; however, the suspension system also permits a vehicle to corner, brake, and even accelerate more effectively. The way this works differs from vehicle to vehicle, so a general understanding of the parts that make up the suspension system can help you understand how the complete system functions.
Suspension systems can be categorized into different groups including wishbone suspensions and Macpherson strut assemblies. Most sports cars have a wishbone suspension system. This means that there is both an upper and lower control arm. Each control arm holds the steering knuckle at the top and the bottom, and the link that is made to the knuckle is called the ball joint. The ball joint is the part that allows the knuckle swivel as you turn the steering wheel.
The majority of regular vehicles use a Macpherson strut assembly. Since they are cheap to produce and they don’t take up a lot of space. However, since the Macpherson strut turns with the wheel, it is subjected to a lot of angular forces and more wear. As a result, these strut systems usually wear out quicker than other systems.
The body of a vehicle is linked to its wheels via ball joints, the steering knuckle, control arms, and sway bars. The steering knuckle houses the wheel bearing and hub. With the ball joint, it is held to the vehicle and pivots with steering, suspension compression, and suspension expansion. In the case of a multi-link suspension or a dual wishbone suspension, there will be at least two ball joints. The control arms are attached to the ball joints; they pivot from their mounting points on the frame or the sub-frame of the vehicle as the suspension is compressed. The sway bar is a metal rod that attaches the left and right control arms together; it is designed to flex and provide stability. The most important function of the sway bar is to reduce the vehicle’s body roll during cornering. This helps to maintain the vehicle’s center of gravity, and this improves its cornering abilities as well. The sway bar is attached to the control arms with sway bar end links, and the sway bar is normally held to the car with two bushings and brackets.
All of these parts are subject to wear in normal driving conditions. Regular road wear, dirt contamination, and impurities contribute to their abrasion, and because ball joints and sway bar links are grease packed and situated close to the ground, the erosion of these parts can be intensified and accelerated.