Suspension refers to the overall system of tires, springs, and shock absorbers that connect the car body to its wheels. The suspension system performs two main functions: assisting with the car’s handling and braking and providing a comfortable ride for the passengers. Without suspension, the vehicle would be at risk for tipping over and passengers would experience a bumpy, jarring ride.

Over time, vehicle manufacturers have utilized different suspension types, including leaf springs, torsion beam suspensions, springs (coiled), air springs, and various gas/hydraulic fluid pressure systems. Suspension systems may be chosen and tailored depending upon the anticipated use of the vehicle (standard, commercial, racing, off-road).


While you may not need to know exactly how car suspension works, you should be able to identify when the suspension system is not working properly or needs replacement. Here are early warning signs that may indicate your car’s suspension needs repair:

  • The car rides roughly (i.e., you feel bumps and dips in the road more acutely than you previously did)
  • The car drifts, pulls, or leans when turning
  • You experience “nose dives” when braking (the car dips forward), or “squats” when accelerating
  • The shocks or struts are visibly greasy — this may indicate a fluid leak in the suspension system
  • Vibrations or tire noise
  • Visible damage to any suspension components
  • Uneven tire tread

If you suspect that your car’s suspension may be failing, it’s best to schedule an appointment with a professional mechanic to have it inspected. Addressing problems right away will avoid more damage to the system and help prevent a major breakdown or even an accident. Suspension issues are often connected with alignment and steering as well — be sure to have all of these checked to ensure maximum vehicle safety.