A suspension system is made up of all the components of a vehicle that attribute to a smooth and comfortable driving experience. The suspension helps to counter the rough surface that a vehicle drives on by absorbing the impact from the tires through the shocks, leaving the rest of the system to ensure the vehicle remains level and secure on the road. The shocks, springs, drive shafts, and control arms, are all features of a suspension system that are situated at each tire and connected by a sway bar. Suspension systems vary depending on whether the vehicle is front wheel, rear wheel, or all wheel drive.
There are generally two types of suspension systems. Dependent suspension systems can be either in the front of the vehicle or the back, fixing the left and right wheel together with a long bar. The movement of the tires in this type of suspension is restricted, limiting the tires to move in conjunction rather than independently when moving over bumps. Front dependent suspension is rarely used on modern vehicles because of the sway bar’s vulnerability to damage and the difficulty in readjusting it.
Independent suspension systems allow for the left and right tires to move up and down independently of one another. This allows for each tire to move over bumps and dips in the road more fluidly rather than having the entire front or back end of the vehicle raise and lower. The vehicle drives along the road more smoothly than with dependent suspension systems, allowing for a more comfortable ride.
With front independent suspension systems, innovation has come with the Macpherson strut, a single unit shock and coil. It allows for each tire to move independently as it is attached to an individual arm rather than a sway bar. Double-wishbone suspension is a more modern system. A wishbone or “A” shaped arm hold the shock and coil is positioned at each tire, front and rear, allowing for complete control over the vehicle’s steering.
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