There isn’t a completely perfect road. Needless to say, most of our roads have subtle and major flaws. Even newly paved roads are not entirely perfect. They have some minor faults that interact with the vehicle’s wheels, causing shock. It is for this reason that your vehicle needs a good steering and suspension system (SAS).
Steering and suspension system is a vital component that helps keep a vehicle riding smoothly. Its design is to support the weight of the vehicle and absorb shocks. It is meant to compensate for the road’s flaws providing multiple challenges to both the driver and the vehicle.
Without a proper SAS, driving would be uncomfortable, bouncy and extremely dangerous. The wheels can interact with the road. This can cause sliding and even overturning of the vehicle.
What is the Steering and Suspension System (SAS)?
The most vital role of the steering and suspension system is to maintain a great control whilst smoothing out the drive.
The system is made up of several parts including the chassis, leaf springs, coil springs, and dampeners. These parts aid in providing a great handling performance and a good ride. They ensure that the wheels of your car follow the road profile.
Without leaf springs and coil springs to absorb shocks, the forward energy would be converted to vertical energy. As a result, controlling the vehicle would be difficult. The vehicle would be jumping up and down, making for an extremely dangerous and uncomfortable ride.
The steering which is part of the SAS includes
- conversion devices
It is a collection of linkages and components that allow you to control your automobile. In other words, it facilitates the car to follow the desired direction.
The suspension, on the other hand, uses springs of different configurations, struts and, hydraulics to keep the car at a proper drive height. So let’s look at the two systems individually.
Car Steering System
- 1: Steer
- 2: Steering column
- 3: Pinion
- 4: Steer arm
- 5: Fusee
The steering system design offers the assistance required for turning the car. Hence, it lets you to comfortably and smoothly maneuver the car effortlessly, irrespective of its weight or size.
Typically, a steering system works with the suspension system. It provides directional control. It also allows you to apply a minimal force to steer a heavy vehicle. The steering system is made up of a steering wheel, a steering column, a steering linkage and a steering gear.
There are many types of steering systems. These days, however, only two types are commonly used in modern automobiles. These types include conventional steering and rack & pinion steering.
- Conventional Steering: This type of steering system transmits the circular motion from the steering wheel. The conventional steering system is suitable for most full-size vans, light trucks, and drive cars.
- Rack & pinion steering: This type of steering system is widely used in most vehicles these days. It offers a more comfortable ride than other steering systems. For this reason, it is recommended for bumpy roads.
The system consists of several components – tie rods, pinion gear, and rack. These components can be found inside the housing of the steering gear. The steering wheel of the vehicle attaches to the pinion gear. When the vehicle moves, it pulls on wheel whilst pushing on another. This makes the vehicle turn in your desired direction.
Rack and pinion steering systems are widely used in small SUVs, mini-vans, and cars. It is cheaper to make than other steering systems – including conventional steering systems.
Car Suspension systems
As said before, a car suspension system plays a vital role. It facilitates better braking and grip and ensures the wheels do not lose contact with the road. Also, it prevents the vehicle from jumping up and down over difficult terrains. It also absorbs shocks and smooths an uncomfortable drive.
Car suspension systems consist of two primary components – dampers and springs. Dampers (shock absorbers) protect the frame of the car when the vehicle hits a bump. Car suspension systems also ensure the springs do not repeatedly bounce over rough roads. The damper separates the wheel from the chassis.
The springs are basically just layers of metal which link to the axle located in the rear and front of the car. The main job is to suspend the weight of the car as well as absorb shocks.
There are three main types of spring which include torsion bars, leaf springs, and coil springs. Coil springs are widely used in the vast majority of modern vehicles. However, most 4-wheel drive automobiles and classic cars use leaf springs.
Identifying Steering or Car Suspension Issues
How can you tell if there’re issues affecting your vehicle’s steering and suspension system? It may be difficult to try to identify issues affecting your steering or suspension system. Therefore, here are some of the things you need to do.
|Things to do||Description|
|Listen to the sound||While driving your vehicle, you may want the noises that the vehicle makes. If your vehicle has a suspension issue, you can always feel or hear the problem. For instance, a ticking or tapping sound on a smooth road may indicate a problem with the bushings, strut mounts or shocks. If you hear a grinding noise when turning the steering wheel, it is a sign of a steering gear problem.|
|Bounce test||If the rear end of your vehicle bottoms out while accelerating hard, the rear shocks might be faulty. If the vehicle bounces continually after every bump or rise, the struts or shocks are worn out.|
|Wiggle test||You can carry out wiggle test in your garage or even driveway. If you hear an unusual sound, some parts of your car might be loose.|
|Steering wheel vibrates at constant speed||Excessive steering wheel vibration at speeds could indicate a number of problems. One, your wheels are not balanced. Two, the tires are worn out excessively or disproportionately. Three, wheels are loose. Lastly, the brake rotor is warped.|
|Consult the experts||To be sure that the SAS of your vehicle is functioning properly, you should consult a professional mechanic for an in-depth analysis of your steering and suspension problems.|
Steering and suspension system (SAS) improve the comfort of the vehicle’s ride and maintain safe driving conditions. A vehicle that has poor handling, excessive bouncing or doesn’t sit level is indicating issues related to the suspension system. These issues could affect the durability of your vehicle as well as affect your safety. Therefore, have your steering and suspension system checked often. This will save you money in the long run.