Importance of checking suspension on a used car:

     Suspension is a critical safety component that needs to be carefully taking into account. Excessively worn shock absorbers can cause the car to overturn, for example.

What signs to look for?

     Before taking the car for a test drive go towards the edge of the hood, right next to the fender, and try to push the car down as hard as you can (without damaging the panels) and then release it and see how it behaves. The car should come up, come down slightly and then come up again and freeze. If it dips deep down after you release it more than once, it indicates worn shocks. Worn shocks are potentially dangerous, because you will get a bouncy ride that and excessive body roll, which can lead to all kinds of traction and stability problems, especially at high speeds.

     If the car is front wheel drive, take a peek from the front of the car at car's front wheels. There you will see ribbed rubber boots on both sides right next to the wheel. Look if the rubber boot is oily or torn. This indicates worn and damaged CV-joints, which will require replacement (quite costly).

     Take the car out on the test drive. Listen for any thumps or grinding noises when the car is rolling. Grinding noises indicate worn wheel bearings. Thumps of any sorts usually indicate some sort of suspension wear or problems. See how the car behaves overall. Does it lean excessively? Does it stabilize itself when it comes back out of the turn smoothly and promptly? Does it seem bouncy? SUV's usually have softer suspension in comparisons to regular passenger vehicles. Vibration MIGHT indicate suspension problems, however, usually after doing tire balance most vibrations go away, therefore it's almost impossible to pinpoint the source of the vibration without doing the tire balance or taking the car to a mechanic.

     Go onto an empty parking lot and at about 3-5mph turn the wheel all the way to the right first and do a couple of circles. Then do the same thing to the left. Listen to clunking sound from the front, as this indicates worn front suspension components, most likely CV-joints.

     While stationary slightly wiggle the steering wheel to the left and to the right and feel if there is excessive play. Excessive play indicates wear in steering components.


     Check shocks by pushing down on the car, check for any excessive bounciness or body roll, check CV joints by looking at them and then doing a couple of circles on the parking lot at about 3mph. Check for play in steering wheel by wiggling it, while stationary.



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