The gradual wear of individual vehicle components is something obvious and normal. Similarly, in the case of parts included in their suspensions – with the difference that in this case it is very difficult to assess the degree of wear or potential damage to individual elements.
Preferably in the workshop
Usually, the deficiencies of car suspensions are manifested gradually, e.g. in the form of difficulties in maintaining the right track, deterioration of grip or unusual noises when turning the wheels (crackling emanating from the upper mounting of the column). In such cases, the operation of the individual suspension parts should be diagnosed as soon as possible by a specialist workshop. This is particularly important because it is only after dismantling a given component that the degree of wear or damage can be correctly determined. In addition, checks for the most sensitive suspension points should be carried out during each periodic workshop visit. Properly diagnosing potential damage will protect us from costly repairs, as well as ensure travel safety.
Watch out for bearings!
One of the reasons for the suspension system’s shortcomings is damage to the McPherson strut bearing. The latter connects the column with the body and consists of a metal-rubber element and an axial rolling bearing. Any noise coming from the upper McPherson strut mount may indicate bearing damage. What does it result in? First of all, the steering works inaccurately, and more specifically the car overcomes the bends with great instability. Danger is also caused by delayed reaction to steering wheel turns. When repairing the rolling bearing, it is necessary to remove the McPherson strut, of course after dismantling the stabilizer rod and disconnecting the steering knuckles from the steering gear. The next step is to disassemble the column and replace the damaged bearing with a new one.
With the wrong geometry
Suspension rods are also components of suspension. Specifically, these are ball joints located at their ends. These are in fact the most exposed to potential damage, e.g. after falling into a deep hole in the pavement (fortunately, there are less and less of them on our roads) or after an emergency descent to an unpaved roadside. Interestingly, in normal everyday operation, the progressive wear of steering rods (ball joints) is practically imperceptible to the driver. The speed of this process depends on the correct geometry of the wheels – in the case of improper one will notice a progressive deterioration of driving precision on the road. Both in the case of heavy wear of the steering rods (including above all ball joints) and sudden mechanical damage, they must be replaced in a specialized workshop. It is worth remembering that in most cases replacement of ball joints is relatively simple and most importantly – cheap. Importantly, preventive treatment allows for a radical improvement in driving safety resulting from the proper maintenance of the driving path by the vehicle.
Parts? Only with OEM
Professionals recommend the use of components for specific car models, while maintaining quality in accordance with the requirements of the first assembly, i.e. OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). This is particularly important because they must work properly with other suspension components. Therefore, cheaper spare parts on the market should not be installed (often of inferior quality). Despite the apparent profit resulting from their lower price, we are exposing ourselves to financial losses in the near future due to accelerated wear of unsuitable components and, as a consequence, costly failures.