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Your car consists of a variety of metal parts. In the Philippines, however, many vehicle owners often ignore one of the most important components of your car — the suspension system. Here are the different types of suspension systems in a car:
Independent suspension systems are set up in a way that both the left and right suspension components act separately. This means that when forces are applied on one side, the other side will not share the load received on the other end. This is achieved by either wheel not sharing any mechanical linkage with each other.
The benefits of an independent system are better ride quality and sharper handling. Independent systems also reduce unsprung weight by using lighter and smaller components. Here are a few examples of independent suspension systems:
A double wishbone suspension system makes use of two wishbone-shaped control arms. The two control arms are the upper control arm and the lower control arm. Like the MacPherson strut, this type of suspension also makes use of a shock absorber positioned within a coilspring. Most of the advantages of the double wishbone suspension benefit high-performance applications. Due to the use of two control arms, this type of suspension can handle more loads compared to the MacPherson Strut.
Suspension travel and vertical wheel position don’t affect the camber which gives you consistent tire contact with the ground. This means that cars that feature a double wishbone system often come with sharper handling. Many mechanics in the Philippines, say that metal parts found in this system make it difficult to work with due to its tightly packed space.
The MacPherson strut is a type of suspension which makes use of a shock absorber positioned within a coilspring. The MacPherson Strut utilizes a carrier hub or a steering knuckle. Vehicles with this type of suspension system only have a single control arm.
The advantages of the MacPherson Strut are its simplicity, lightweight construction, and compact size. This makes the MacPherson Strut a choice for car manufacturers who want to cut costs. Another key trait of the MacPherson Strut is the change in camber depending on the vertical position of the wheel. Many see this characteristic as a downside of this suspension system due to reducing its overall handling characteristics.
A dependent suspension system requires that both the left and right wheel are connected via a mechanical linkage. That means that forces applied on either wheel will affect the other. There are only a handful of dependent suspension systems around, namely leaf springs with a solid axle or torsion beam rear suspensions.
This type of suspension is commonly found in pickup trucks, SUVs, and many older sedans. The advantage of dependent suspension systems that stand out the most is its ability to handle extreme loads and off-road application.
Knowing the suspension system your car is equipped with can help you know its handling characteristics even more. When it comes to maintenance, understanding your suspension system is essential if you want to work on your own car or to avoid mechanics from pulling one over you. These are the basics about suspension systems.