Informational Guide

Car Suspension Explained (How It Works)

What is car suspension and why should you understand it? This guide will answer your top questions.

Many people don’t think about car suspension, but it's vital to the feel and safety of a vehicle. What is car suspension and why should you understand it? This guide will answer your top questions, such as what is a suspension system on a car and what happens if your car suspension is bad?

Because you don't drive on completely flat roads, you must have a car suspension system to handle all of the imperfections. As you hit a bump, the car moves ups and down at a force relative to the level of impact it receives. Without a suspension, this impact could cause the car's wheels to come off the road because it would move the frame of the vehicle instead of the suspension.

Stated more plainly, the suspension system contains several components working together to create a smooth ride. What is the suspension system of a car and how does it benefit you? With a properly working suspension, you can count on a more controlled ride, no matter what terrain you are driving on. Having high-quality suspension parts also helps to reduce the wear on other vital components, such as the brake pads and tires. However, there are different types of suspension systems and parts your vehicle might contain.

Components of A Car Suspension System


Suspension parts are movable, so connections are needed for flexibility. The suspension will connect with bearings and bushings to provide a small amount of movement, while joints can provide even more. Some of these parts will require lubrication to continue working correctly.


There are four basic types of springs. Coil springs are the most common, while leaf springs contain several layers. Torsion bars also provide a twisting property that provides coil-like performance. The vehicle might also have air springs. What is an air suspension in a car? Cylinder chambers filled with air provide a cushion between the wheels and the car frame.


The tires are the only part of the vehicle that makes contact with the road. When everything is working the way it should, the tires will consistently remain connected with the road surface to provide exceptional grip and traction.


The rods and connecting pieces ensure that the wheels remain where they should be in relation to the vehicle. Linkages are often solid metal that won't fail unless a collision occurs. However, when a bushing goes bad, it might require replacing the entire assembly.

Shock Absorbers

Used as a dampening structure, the shock absorbers extend and release based on the impact of the vehicle. If the vehicle didn’t have some form of shock absorber, it would be bouncy and uncontrollable.

Steering System

The steering system also contains various parts, such as joints, linkages and tie rod ends that enable the driver to direct the vehicle. Many of the parts are subject to wear over time, such as the tie rod ends, steering boxes, and joints.


The frame of the vehicle supports the load. It's the structural component of the car that holds both the body and the engine. The frame is then supported by the suspension, which connects this part to the wheels.

Two Different Types of Suspension System Explained

Independent suspension system

When both the front and back suspension systems are independent, the wheels are sprung and mounted individually. These four-wheel independent suspension systems are a big selling feature for car automakers. Some vehicles also contain either a front- or rear-wheel independent suspension. Any of these options improve the handling of the vehicle significantly over the dependent suspension.

Dependent suspension system

The solid-axle suspension connects the rear or front wheels together. For a long time, this was the preferred method of American automakers simply because of it being a more basic design. However, the ride isn’t quite as favorable as one experienced with an independent suspension.

Why Car Suspension is So Important

Why do you need a high-quality suspension system on your vehicle? Here are just a few benefits to a well-working suspension system.

  • Controlled spring movement
  • Consistent braking and handling
  • Heads off premature tire wear, ensuring you change tires less often
  • Maintains contact with the road through the tires
  • Enables dynamic wheel alignment
  • Promotes even brake and tire wear
  • Controls vehicle roll, bounce, sway and squat

When one part of your car suspension begins to wear out, it can cause a significant difference in the ride quality. It can also put you at risk for an accident, which is why you want to replace any worn parts immediately.


How to Know When A Car’s Suspension Needs Repair? (Problems Discussed)

What is a suspension problem in a car? Will you know the signs and what is suspension work on a car? If a suspension component begins to go bad, you might notice the following signs.

  • Rough ride – like you are feeling every bump in the road.
  • Pulling or drifting during turns – because the shocks can’t control the frame anymore.
  • Uneven tire wear – you might also notice bald spots.
  • Nose diving or dipping while braking – which can also affect the car’s ability to stop.
  • Oily damaged shocks – due to leaking fluid.

Don’t take any chances. If you notice these symptoms, perform a suspension bounce test or have a mechanic look at the suspension.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

What is a suspension bush on a car?

The suspension bush acts as a vibration isolator and is constructed of rubber. It prevents any metal-to-metal contact but still allows some movement to occur.

What is the best car suspension?

The air suspension is often best for most vehicles. What is the air suspension on a car? It contains air-filled suspension parts that are compressible and adjustable. This system reacts better to many different surface types and provides optimal driving comfort.

How much does it cost to fix suspension? Is it expensive to fix?

The average suspension repair cost is between $1,000 and $5,000, depending on what parts need to be replaced. 

Can you drive a car with suspension problems?

In many cases, you can still physically drive when suspension parts are going bad, but you shouldn’t. Not only is the ride quality affected, but you could be creating more wear on other components that will cost you more to fix. Additionally, a bad suspension can cause such poor handling that you have trouble controlling the vehicle, thereby increasing your chance of an accident.

How long do suspension airbags last?

It depends on the manufacturer. Some claim between 50,000 and 70,000 miles, while others state a lifespan of about ten years.


Learning about your car suspension is a great way to maintain control on the road. As you notice some of the symptoms that something is wrong, you can take action before an accident occurs.