Signs Your Vehicle's Suspension Has A Problem

Nobody wants their engine or transmission to fail, but these parts are designed to last the whole life of the car with very little maintenance like oil changes! By contrast, the suspension, which you probably don't think about much, will also need some occasional maintenance. Parts like tie rod ends, suspension bushings, shocks and struts often wear out over time and need to be replaced to keep your vehicle driving smoothly and comfortably. Check your owner's manual to see if parts like tie rods should be replaced at a regular interval. Otherwise, if you detect any of the five problems below, it's time to have the suspension checked by a reputable technician -- like the ones you'll find in our service center at Capitol Toyota.

This ball joint is protected by a rubber boot from dust, dirt and debris 

5. Loose Handling or Play in the Steering Wheel

The suspension and steering systems on your car are intimately linked. If a part of your suspension fails, the vehicle may be more likely to "wander" around instead of tracking in a straight line, or feel loose as you steer. This can be caused by other issues, too, such as poor steering alignment, which is possible on your vehicle even if the suspension is in great shape. Since these symptoms are so similar, you'll likely want a professional diagnosis to isolate the source of the problem.

4. Vehicle Bounces Or Dives Over Bumps

The suspension is designed to help soak up pavement imperfections, cracks, potholes and speed bumps so you enjoy a comfortable, balanced ride. If you've got worn-out shocks, springs or struts, the vehicle may bounce excessively over these bumps. You may also feel the nose diving excessively forward under braking. Naturally, this will make your vehicle less comfortable to drive, but it can also impact handling balance, since the weight of the vehicle is bouncing and "sloshing" around as you drive. You can test for this by simply pressing down on the front and rear bumpers of the vehicle when parked. The vehicle should return to its standard height with little to no bounce whatsoever. If it bounces up and down a few times, it's time to have the suspension checked at our service center.

A technician removes an old suspension spring to replace it 

3. Vehicle Leans When Parked

When parked, you expect your car to sit flat and level. If you notice it leans heavily toward one wheel at one corner, the suspension at that corner likely has a failure. Similarly, if the car leans forward or backward, the suspension on the front or back wheels may be in need of service. An easy way to tell is to look at the space in the wheel well between the tire and the bodywork. It should be basically the same all the way around the vehicle.

Rust and corrosion can also cause damage to your vehicle's suspension components 

2. Squeaking, Clanking Or Knocking Noise

Similar noises can come from the drive axles, driveshafts, transmission and even the brakes -- but most likely a repetitive knocking, squeaking or clunking noise coming from under the vehicle is due to a failed suspension component. For example, suspension bushings ensure smooth articulation of the suspension's moving parts. If these bushings go bad, there may be "play" in the system allowing the loose parts to rattle back and forth as you drive. This is a sign that your suspension is in need of service. Driving for too long with failed parts like suspension bushings and tie-rod ends can put additional stress on other parts of the suspension system.

1. Uncomfortable Ride

Sometimes, the only thing you really notice is that your vehicle is suddenly less comfortable to drive! The chassis and suspension work together to isolate you from harsh vibrations created by the road. After all, no pavement is perfectly smooth and flat. If suddenly you're feeling every bump, the suspension is one component we can check for you. We can also check the tires, which are also essential to your ride quality. Even the incorrect air pressure in your tires can harm the quality of your ride. No matter what's gone wrong, we can set it right at a fair price using quality OEM parts in our service center at Capitol Toyota.