Importance of checking suspension on a used car:
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
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
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
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.
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
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,