Understanding Vehicle Suspension: The Key Components and Their Impact on Ride Quality


Your car has many systems that work together to get you where you need to go. Your vehicle’s suspension system is what makes driving comfortable but also keeps you safe. If you find that your vehicle has some suspension challenges, you may consider purchasing replacement auto parts, but you should understand this system before you start.

Suspension System Components

Some vehicles have independent suspension types, while others have rigid suspension. However, all systems, even special or air suspension, have a few parts in common.

Shock Absorbers

Your car has either single-type or double-acting shock absorbers or both. Shock absorbers work closely with your springs to dampen the movement of your vehicle. It manages the up and down movements through absorber oil.


Your vehicle may have coil, leaf and torsion bar springs, among others. These components absorb the jolt that uneven roads may cause, improving comfort. However, your springs also keep your tires in contact with the road, which makes it safer and more stable.

Ball Joints

Upper and lower ball joints handle the load of your vehicle, both lateral and horizontal, and work with the rotation of your suspension system. As these pieces rub together, oil gets released to improve the function of your system.

Lateral Control Rods

Four-wheel-drive vehicles have lateral control rods. These components sit between the axle and the body of your vehicle to balance loads that originate from the side of the vehicle rather than under it.

Stabilizer Bars

Stabilizer bars balance your vehicle during turns. This is especially vital during high-speed or sudden turns. During a turn, the centrifugal force can push your vehicle out of balance and it needs components to prevent it from turning over or flipping. The iron rod connects the lower arm and car body, but it has inbuilt elasticity to improve the performance of your suspension system.

Strut Bars

A strut bar holds the lower arm. This component allows your wheels to work properly, allowing the front wheels to respond to the steering wheel.

Upper and Lower Arms

These arms connect the body of your vehicle with the knuckle arm. The knuckle arm attaches to the wheels. They move up and down and help the car remain stable during turns.

Knuckle Arm

The knuckle arm holds the spindle shaft that allows the wheels to continuously rotate. The ball joint connects to the knuckle arm through the ball joint.

Upgrading Suspension for Performance

When you have to replace your suspension parts, you may consider an upgrade or two. For example, air suspension improves your ride comfort and increases your safety when you have to navigate obstacles. You can also upgrade your shocks and struts to improve your car’s balance and weight transfer. Upgraded coil springs and shock absorbers improve how your car handles, especially during accelerating and braking.

You can also upgrade some of your chassis through sway bars, which reduce roll during quick turns. If you want to lower your center of gravity, you may also lower your springs. This upgrade improves your performance by making it sportier.

As you consider learn more about and consider upgrading your suspension system, don’t forget to add protection to other areas of your vehicle’s systems, such as installing a Dorman 600-234xd power take-off unit to protect your vehicle from internal lubrication failures.


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