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Suspension Systems. Consumer Auto. What is a Suspension System?. It supports the weight of the car It keeps tires in firm contact with road It prevents body roll when cornering It keeps the wheels in alignment. Typical Suspension System Parts. Control arm Spring Shock Ball joint

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Suspension Systems

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Suspension systems

Suspension Systems

Consumer Auto

What is a suspension system

What is a Suspension System?

  • It supports the weight of the car

  • It keeps tires in firm contact with road

  • It prevents body roll when cornering

  • It keeps the wheels in alignment

Typical suspension system parts

Typical Suspension System Parts

  • Control arm

  • Spring

  • Shock

  • Ball joint

  • Knuckle

Control arms

Control Arms

  • Can be an arm that in the shape of an “A” (purple)

  • Some are a heavy duty rod

  • Used to keep the tires in alignment



  • Front springs are usually coil springs (10)

  • Rear springs can be coil or leaf springs (11)

  • Some springs are a round bar called a torsion bar

  • Used to hold the weight of the car

Ball joint

Ball Joint

  • Mounted in the control arm, it lets the tire turn as well as go up and down at the same time

  • The other end mounts to the spindle

Steering knuckle blue green

Steering Knuckle (Blue Green)

  • Holds the tire to the car using a spindle

  • Attaches to the lower control arm and the strut or upper control arm

  • Connects to the tie rods for steering

Shock absorber

Shock Absorber

  • Stops the car from bouncing excessively

  • Helps prevent rapid tire wear

  • Does not support the weight of the car

Types of suspension systems

Types of Suspension Systems

Short Arm/Long Arm McPherson Strut

Short arm long arm suspension parts

Short Arm/Long Arm Suspension Parts

  • Upper & lower control arms

  • Upper & lower ball joint

  • Steering knuckle

  • Coil spring

  • Shock

  • Stabilizer bar & link

Short arm long arm suspension operation

Short Arm/Long Arm Suspension Operation

  • Control arms mounted to frame and the steering knuckle

  • Upper arm shorter than lower, making them unequal in length

  • Provides a way for the tires to maintain traction with the road when the car goes over bumps

Mcpherson strut suspension parts

McPherson Strut Suspension Parts

  • McPherson strut

  • Coil spring

  • Lower control arm

  • Knuckle

  • Stabilizer bar

  • Strut rod

Mcpherson strut operation

McPherson Strut Operation

  • Coil spring & shock are combined

  • The upper control arm is replaced by the McPherson strut

  • Less parts and weight which gives better gas mileage

  • Not a heavy duty suspension system

  • Used on smaller cars

Shock absorbers

Shock Absorbers

  • Used on SLA systems

  • Dampens the rebound of the spring

  • Stops spring oscillations

  • Provides resistance one way (extending)

  • Can wear out

Shock absorber inspection

Shock Absorber Inspection

  • Look at the shock for signs of damage

  • Look for leaking fluid from the ram end

  • Test the operation by jumping on the car to see if it bounces more than once

  • Replace the shock if it is bad

  • Replace in pairs

Air shocks

Air Shocks

  • Used to adjust height or help sagging springs

  • Used on rear

  • Air added and released manually

Automatic load leveling systems

Automatic Load Leveling Systems

  • Usually a four wheel system

  • Has an air pump and sensors that monitor the ride height

  • Air added & released automatically as needed

Active suspension systems

Active Suspension Systems

  • Springs & shocks replaced with actuators

  • Actuators work by hydraulics

  • They adjust the height of the car and the stiffness of the ride

  • Sensors automatically correct ride without input from the driver



  • Do shocks correct ride height?

  • What are the 2 types of springs?

  • Active suspension replaces springs and shocks with this part.

  • SLA stands for what?

  • What part does the McPherson strut suspension not have?



  • What is the purpose of the ball joint?

  • Why do we need springs in the suspension?

  • In what type of car is McPherson strut suspension used?

  • What is one reason why we have suspension systems

  • The spindle attaches to what 2 parts?

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