Signs Your Suspension Needs Repair

Is It Time for a New Suspension or Just Repairs?

image - drawing diagram of automobile suspension suspension, all four wheels.It’s usually easy to tell if your car’s suspension is having issues, but it can be difficult to diagnose the actual cause of the problems. Bad or worn shocks, struts, springs, tie rods or ball joints can cause costly damage to your vehicle and make it unsafe to drive.

Unfortunately, the suspension is often taken for granted – but it supports the entire weight of your vehicle. Suspensions are more than just about a smooth ride. A worn out suspension affects your ability to control the car, especially when stopping or turning, and can affect performance at different speeds. Pay attention to how your car handles, sounds it makes, and have problems checked immediately as they come up.

We get it – wear and tear happens, it comes with every part of every car. Regular wear and tear also comes with the need for a regular inspection and maintenance plan. Suspension maintenance and repairs are just as important as any other maintenance items, like oil changes or brakes. If you ignore problems with your car and allow them to fester, you will end up with more and more repairs that cost more and more money to fix.

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Suspension

There are many things to look for to determine if your suspension system is failing in some way or needs repair. Since the suspension affects so many other systems that influence the control you have over your vehicle, it’s important to be aware of symptoms to determine if individual parts or the system at large is failing.

Car Ride is Not Smooth

There are many reasons your car might not drive smoothly. Aside from the tires, the suspension is usually one of the first suspects when your ride becomes bumpy or rough. When you can feel every bump in the road and it makes your car bounce, it’s time to get your suspension looked at. You can test the suspension yourself by doing the “bounce test.” While the car is parked, put all your weight on the front end and then release. If the car bounces up and down like a kid at a techno concert, the shocks and struts need to be replaced.

Worn out shocks can mean big problems if you don’t get them replaced.

Shock absorbers keep your tires on the road. If they don’t, the car will bounce all over the road and become uncontrollable. Shock absorbers serve to “absorb” the bumps and bounces. When they wear out, you definitely feel it in the performance and controllability of your car. If they fail entirely, your car could be severely damaged.

Car is Difficult to Steer

If your car becomes hard to steer, especially at low speed, something might be wrong with the suspension. Because your steering is linked to the suspension and the two rely on each other to get their respective jobs done, it’s important to pay attention to the steering – it’s the way you control your car.

If something is affecting your control of the car, it could be the suspension or it could be something in the steering system itself.

image of woman driving, having trouble controlling car, passenger in panic, shouting stop.Low power steering fluid, worn or loose belts, worn out control arm bushings could all be part of the problem. Squealing or whining when you turn the wheels of your car is usually a sign that the power steering pump is failing. As you can see, when steering becomes difficult, it’s time to steer your car to a mechanic.

Car Drifts or Pulls to One Side

If your car drifts or pulls to one side as you drive down a straight road, it could be due to any one of a number of reasons – tires, brakes, steering or suspension. It’s a difficult problem to diagnose, but there are things you can do yourself to possibly eliminate the causes and save yourself a trip to the mechanic.

The first thing you can do is check your tires.

Check the tire pressure. An underinflated tire can cause the entire car to ride strangely, including pulling it to one side. If you find yourself constantly fighting your steering wheel, check the tire pressure. Additionally, you’ll experience uneven tire wear all around and decreased gas mileage. If the tires haven’t been rotated regularly, get them rotated. This can be a cost effective solution to an annoying issue.

Have the alignment checked.

If you do a lot of driving on rough roads, or have hit more than one pothole or curb, and you notice some weirdness in the steering, there’s a good chance you need an alignment. A poor alignment will cause uneven tire wear, which then becomes another potential cause of the car drifting or pulling.

If the suspension is damaged, get it fixed to avoid bigger issues.

If your car drifts or pulls, a tie rod, spring, or control arm could be broken. This will cause severe difficulty in steering and affect your ability to control the car beyond just casual drift or pull. Go to a mechanic and have it fixed immediately.

Car Sits Low or Nose Dives

If one corner of the car seems to sit low when it’s parked, this is a sign of a damaged or broken spring.

When driving, you’ll notice a clunking sound when you go over bumps or turn. This is because the damaged or broken spring can’t support the weight of the car. A blown spring will put undue stress on the shock absorber, too, and vice versa. The two work so closely together that if one goes, the other has to compensate. But the spring is primarily responsible for any variations you see in the level sitting of your car.

If your car nose dives, leans back or rolls, the shocks or struts need to be replaced.

Braking transfers the weight of the vehicle to the front, and if the shocks and/or struts are worn out, this will cause the car’s nose to dive or dip down much more than you’re used to. You’ll notice it. Additionally, the car will lean back when you accelerate, as the weight of the car is transferred to the rear. When you take a corner, the car will roll – not roll over, but lean excessively to one side. The car will not be level, but it will lean so one side of the car dips down and the other side rises up, all without the tires leaving the ground.

Related: Reasons Why Your Ride is Bumpy and Rough

image of 3D render of a car suspensionAAMCO Can Help with Your Suspension and Steering Repairs

Because suspension and steering are such important components for the control and safety of your car (and nice, smooth ride) it’s critical to keep them maintained, and get them inspected and repaired if you experience problems. If you start noticing any of the symptoms mentioned in this article, or suspect that there could be some issues with any parts of your suspension or steering, schedule an appointment with a professional mechanic to diagnose the problem and recommend next steps for repair.

Find Your Local Minnesota AAMCO Auto Repair & Transmission Center

If you have any questions, feel free to call and talk with one of our courteous technicians. Or, book an appointment online to reserve your time, date, and location.

 

 
AAMCO West St. Paul

1571 S Robert St | St Paul, MN, 55118

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AAMCO Transmissions West St. Paul is your Twin Cities one-stop shop for transmission repairs, rebuilds, and car maintenance. Our certified technicians can handle any transmission repair or rebuild, as well as auto repair and maintenance service for your vehicle. You can rely on our mechanics for automatic and manual transmission problems and rebuilds, clutch service and replacement, and more. We use modern computer diagnostics to identify transmission and engine issues so we can repair your car quickly and get you back on the road. We work on all makes and models, including 4x4s.

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AAMCO Minneapolis

5231 West Broadway | Minneapolis, MN, 55429

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Transmission repair and rebuilds are our specialty. From transmissions to brakes, radiators, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light diagnosis and car maintenance, people who know call AAMCO Minneapolis Transmission Repair and Auto Services. Our expert technicians use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle. From automatic and manual transmission repairs, clutch service and replacement, and more, we know all vehicle makes and models. We back our work with the best nationwide warranty. AAMCO of Minneapolis, MN is your one-stop transmission rebuild and total car care center.

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AAMCO Maplewood

1905 County Rd D E | Maplewood, MN, 55109

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People come to AAMCO of Maplewood, MN because we care about making sure you car is running safely and reliably. You can count on us for all your automotive repairs and maintenance. From transmission repairs and rebuilds to brakes, radiators, air conditioning, check engine light and tune ups. AAMCO Maplewood transmission and auto repair technicians use the latest technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time - and we back it with the best nationwide warranty. At your local Minnesota AAMCO of Maplewood we know all vehicle makes and models - we're your one-stop total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

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AAMCO Fridley

940 Osborne Rd NE | Minneapolis, MN, 55432

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At AAMCO Fridley we believe in performing honest and affordable transmission and auto repair services. We do the job right and get you back on the road safely and reliably. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO Fridley, MN is your one-stop auto mechanic. Trust AAMCO’s expert auto technicians to use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle, and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO of Fridley, Minnesota we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

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AAMCO Hopkins

10921 Excelsior Blvd #117 | 10921 Excelsior Blvd #117, MN, 55343

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At AAMCO Hopkins, MN we believe in the value of good, honest work and giving you and your family the peace of mind a safe, reliable car provides on a daily basis. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, auto tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO of Hopkins is your one-stop shop for car repairs and maintenance. Trust the transmission experts at AAMCO of Hopkins transmission repair to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO Hopkins transmission and car repair we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care and repair specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

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Reasons Why Your Ride is Bumpy and Rough

Why does your car feel like you’re driving on a bumpy road?image - stone paved bumpy road

Sometimes your car does not ride as smoothly as you like. If the ride gets really bumpy or rough, and you’re not on a dirt road, there are some things that could be mechanically wrong. There are a number of things that can cause a rough, bumpy ride while you’re accelerating, cruising, or coming to a stop.

Think of How You Drive

Did you run over or bump into something?

One of the first things you can do is think of anything that might have happened recently that could cause damage to your car. Did you bump into a curb or bottom out? Smashing into a curb can damage your tires or rims, and throw off your alignment. If you bottom out, your suspension can be damaged, as well as the underside of your car. If you drive in harsh conditions on a regular basis, your car will be more prone to damage and need more regular maintenance. See this infographic on severe driving habits to help you assess if you are a severe maintenance driver.

Some Things to Check if Your Ride is Bumpy and Roughimage - Stack of three tires, fourth tire leaning against stack

Tires

Tires are usually the first thing to check if your car’s ride feels strange. Rough, bumpy rides can be due to bad tire alignment, incorrect air pressure – too low, too high, different pressures in each tire – or even the tires not being mounted properly. Worst case scenario could be the rims themselves have become damaged or warped.

Take care when changing a tire.

Many times a person will change a tire and not set the tire firmly enough against the back disk. Once the lug nuts have been tightened, they may think it’s secure, only to discover that the car wobbles, vibrates, or shakes when driving, especially at high speed. Even if there is only slight vibration, it will cause excess wear and tear on the tires, brakes, and other components.

Know the signs of a bad alignment.

Sometimes an alignment problem can be difficult to detect. Usually, you can feel the car pull to one side as you accelerate, and it will drift while cruising or coasting. If the steering wheel turns to one side and feels like its fighting you, the alignment should be checked. One sure sign of bad alignment is uneven tire wear on the front tires. Excessive wear or baldness on the inside or outside of either tire is an indication that the alignment is off.

Rotate the tires to prevent uneven wear.

Regular tire rotation – about every 3,000 miles or once a season – helps to keep the treads even and makes it easier to spot or sense trouble.

Maintain the correct air pressure in the tires.

Uneven air pressure in your tires can cause all kinds of problems – especially a rough ride – and can be dangerous if left unchecked. If the pressure is too high, they might warp or become misshapen. High air pressure causes tires to wear out faster. If the pressure is excessively high or exceeds the manufacturer’s recommendations, the tire might blow out, particularly at high speed. An over-inflated tire will also cause you to feel every bump and crack in the road. If the tire pressure is too low, your car will tend to feel like it’s dragging a little, and have more of a an absorbent or muddy feel as you go over bumps.

Check your tires regularly and schedule an appointment with your local AAMCO Minnesota shop to see if the pressure in your tires is correct for the season and conditions.

Suspensionimage - 3D render of a car suspension

The suspension doesn’t just provide a smooth, comfortable ride – it helps the control and handling qualities of your vehicle. Without shocks and struts, a vehicle would bounce down the road, making driving extremely difficult, not to mention dangerous. Your suspension can affect all the other things mentioned in this article.

Shocks and struts are considered critical to the safe operation of your vehicle – they are designed to help keep your tires on the road and you in control of your vehicle. If your suspension fails, you will know it.

Know the signs of a damaged suspension.

Your car might lean to one side, almost feeling like it’s going to drag on the ground. When going over bumps, it will bounce up and down like it is on very loose springs, before finally settling. You will feel sharp jolts through the steering wheel as you drive over potholes, bumps, curbs, and other road hazards.

As with all parts and systems on your car, the suspension system and its individual parts wear out over time and must be replaced. Shocks and struts not only affect the ride and performance of your car, but can contribute to other problems, such as alignment, tire wear, steering, and braking. If your car rocks, sways, or bounces up and down a lot during normal driving, cornering, and braking it is probably time to schedule an appointment at your local AAMCO Minnesota dealership and have your suspension system checked by a certified mechanic.

TransmissionAutomotive transmission gearbox in detail.

Let AAMCO take the fear out of transmission repair.

It’s your transmission…” Those three words can mean repairs from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. It usually depends on how quickly you are able to tell your transmission needs servicing and when you actually take it in for service.

Know what transmission problems to look for.

Many people simply don’t know they have a transmission problem, even as it occurs. They might notice an occasional thump or hard shift, maybe a passing vibration. But once the transmission really starts to fail, the signs are unmistakable. Leaking fluid, hard shifts, loss of power, lots of vibrating, whining, grinding, and other noises will become regular operating features of the car.

If you know your tires and suspension are OK, then have your transmission checked.

Have the transmission inspected if you experience any problems shifting, or odd behavior like a rough, bumpy ride when you know your tires and suspension are in good condition. A brand new transmission can cost as much as a used car, so it’s better to maintain the transmission on a regular schedule. Have the fluid and filter checked, flushed if necessary or if called for by the factory schedule.

Is it the torque converter?

If your car shakes and shudders, it could mean the lockup clutch is malfunctioning. This might occur at speeds around 35-45 miles per hour. It’s a noticeable problem and feels like you’re driving on a road with lots of small bumps. A worn out lockup clutch can make the transition from acceleration to direct drive difficult, and it’s a sign that you need to have your transmission checked.

Come to AAMCO Minnesota for All Your Car Repairs & Maintenance

You need an experienced transmission specialist who can honestly tell you what needs to be done.

If you have questions about your car’s transmission, engine, repair or maintenance needs, AAMCO Minnesota can help. Stop by or call a local AAMCO Minnesota repair shop for a Multi Point Vehicle Courtesy Check for your transmission and related systems. We’ll winterize your car and get you ready for the cold, snowy winter driving months ahead. We can handle all your scheduled car maintenance and repairs, from brakes to factory recommended maintenance.

Other Articles About Car Maintenance & Repair

Take the Fear Out of Transmission Repair

Checklist for Preparing Your Car for Winter

Daydreaming on Your Cell Phone While Rubbernecking

 

Locally Owned & Operated AAMCO Minnesota Transmission Shops

 
AAMCO West St. Paul

1571 S Robert St | St Paul, MN, 55118

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

AAMCO Transmissions West St. Paul is your Twin Cities one-stop shop for transmission repairs, rebuilds, and car maintenance. Our certified technicians can handle any transmission repair or rebuild, as well as auto repair and maintenance service for your vehicle. You can rely on our mechanics for automatic and manual transmission problems and rebuilds, clutch service and replacement, and more. We use modern computer diagnostics to identify transmission and engine issues so we can repair your car quickly and get you back on the road. We work on all makes and models, including 4x4s.

Write a Review

AAMCO Minneapolis

5231 West Broadway | Minneapolis, MN, 55429

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

Transmission repair and rebuilds are our specialty. From transmissions to brakes, radiators, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light diagnosis and car maintenance, people who know call AAMCO Minneapolis Transmission Repair and Auto Services. Our expert technicians use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle. From automatic and manual transmission repairs, clutch service and replacement, and more, we know all vehicle makes and models. We back our work with the best nationwide warranty. AAMCO of Minneapolis, MN is your one-stop transmission rebuild and total car care center.

Write a Review

AAMCO Maplewood

1905 County Rd D E | Maplewood, MN, 55109

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

People come to AAMCO of Maplewood, MN because we care about making sure you car is running safely and reliably. You can count on us for all your automotive repairs and maintenance. From transmission repairs and rebuilds to brakes, radiators, air conditioning, check engine light and tune ups. AAMCO Maplewood transmission and auto repair technicians use the latest technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time - and we back it with the best nationwide warranty. At your local Minnesota AAMCO of Maplewood we know all vehicle makes and models - we're your one-stop total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

Write a Review

AAMCO Fridley

940 Osborne Rd NE | Minneapolis, MN, 55432

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

At AAMCO Fridley we believe in performing honest and affordable transmission and auto repair services. We do the job right and get you back on the road safely and reliably. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO Fridley, MN is your one-stop auto mechanic. Trust AAMCO’s expert auto technicians to use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and repair your vehicle, and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO of Fridley, Minnesota we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

Write a Review

AAMCO Hopkins

10921 Excelsior Blvd #117 | 10921 Excelsior Blvd #117, MN, 55343

Details Directions

Call Now Set Appointment

At AAMCO Hopkins, MN we believe in the value of good, honest work and giving you and your family the peace of mind a safe, reliable car provides on a daily basis. From transmission repair and rebuild to brake service, air conditioning repair, auto tune ups, check engine light and car maintenance, AAMCO of Hopkins is your one-stop shop for car repairs and maintenance. Trust the transmission experts at AAMCO of Hopkins transmission repair to diagnose and repair your vehicle right the first time and back it with the best nationwide warranty. At AAMCO Hopkins transmission and car repair we know all vehicle makes and models and have the latest in diagnostic tools and technology. We are your total car care and repair specialists.

Convenient payment plans available.

Write a Review

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Signs Your Car’s Ball Joints Are Wearing Out – Infographic

AAMCO Minnesota knows all the parts of your car’s steering and suspension. If you think your car’s ball joints are wearing out, come to your local AAMCO Minnesota mechanic for an inspection.

What Are Ball Joints and What Do They Do?

A ball joint is a sphere, or ball, housed in a socket, much like human ball and socket joints, such as hips. Ball joints connect the control arms of the car to the steering knuckles.

The front ball joints pivot in their sockets to allow the front wheels to turn in conjunction with the suspension moving up and down. As you drive down the road, the ball joints are constantly pivoting and moving with your steering, braking, and bouncing. On top of all that work, some ball joints are “load bearing,” meaning they support the front weight of the car. It’s easy to understand that they are an important part of your car. When the ball joints fail, you are not going anywhere.

Warning Signs That Your Ball Joints Are Worn Out

Usually there are few signs that will alert you that the ball joints are failing.
  1. Clunking or rattling noises coming from the front suspension.
    When ball joints wear out they become loose and rattle around in their sockets as the suspension goes up and down. They might knock, clunk, or bang when traveling on rough roads, going over bumps like railroad tracks or speed bumps, or when turning.
  2. Excessive vibration in the front of the vehicle.
    Worn ball joints will shake and rattle as you drive, causing excessive vibration in the suspension, usually on one side. The vibrating can sometimes be felt through the steering wheel.
  3. Car wanders, steering is off to left or right.
    Known as steering wander, when one or more ball joints is bad, the car will wander to the left or right. It might be difficult to tell the difference between steering wander and bad alignment, because both conditions can cause the car to pull or wander left or right.
  4. Uneven tire wear.
    Irregular and/or excessive tire wear is a strong indicator of ball joints wearing out. Wear on either the inside or outside of the tires is a strong indicator of bad ball joints and can be difficult to catch; so, if you experience any of the other symptoms, be sure to check your tires carefully.

Schedule an appointment with your local Minnesota AAMCO today!

image-infographic - Signs Your Car's Ball Joints Are Failing