Suspension and Steering
Suspension and steering systems perform two different jobs, but share several components with each other. They are two related systems, which allow you to keep your vehicle under control, so you can enjoy your ride. Both of them are very complex and require proper maintenance and servicing.
The suspension system of your vehicle is engineered to support the weight of your vehicle and handle road imperfections. While its design can vary depending on the vehicle, it serves to make your ride more comfortable and safe. Most likely, your vehicle comes with independent suspension in the front and solid or independent suspension in the rear. Both types have their pros and cons. Thus, independent suspension allows each wheel to move independently, which improves handling and ride comfort. At the same time, solid suspension causes the whole axle and, therefore, the left and right wheels move together, which makes the suspension stronger and more durable. Plus, solid suspension is less expensive to produce.
Struts or shock absorbers are the major parts of a typical suspension system. The job of a shock absorber is to dampen the shock received by the suspension system of a vehicle when it moves over uneven roads. As for a strut, it is a shock absorber and a coil spring combined into a single unit. Also called a MacPherson strut, it provides the best of both worlds, including high efficiency and a lightweight and compact design.
Your vehicle’s steering system is used to route the vehicle into a desired direction. Like a suspension system, it can come in one of two basic designs, such as rack-and-pinion and recirculating ball. The first of them provides better steering control and handling, which makes it an ideal solution for cars and light trucks, while recirculating ball systems are more durable and stronger, so they are better for use on heavy-duty trucks and utility vehicles.
Rack-and-pinion steering systems are the most popular type of steering systems. Just like their name suggests, they feature two main components, including a rack with teeth on one side and a pinion gear attached to the steering shaft. When a driver rotates the steering wheel, the pinion moves the rack into one of the sides, causing it to move the steering linkage connected to the wheels and the rack with tie rods.
Regardless of your steering system design, most likely it is equipped with a steering assist system of either an electric or hydraulic type. They are completely different systems, which, however, do the same job, but in a different way. They multiply the steering effort to make steering more effortless, especially at lower speeds.