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Exploring Suspension And Steering Components
There is an old saying that the most important part of a car is the tires, but what about all the parts that get those tires turning? These parts are generally referred to as your suspension and steering components, and they play a vital role in keeping your vehicle on the road. Beyond just getting power to the wheels, they respond to input from the steering column and transmission, as well as absorb imperfections in the road surface like bumps and potholes. In modern front-wheel drive cars, these parts will generally be found between each front wheel and the bell housing of the transmission.
A drive shaft or CV shaft extends from the side of the transmission to the wheel hub providing power to each wheel independently. Because of the constant velocity joints on each end of the shaft, the wheels are able to move up, down and side to side to absorb or avoid changes in the driving surface, as well as give the other parts of the suspension system room to move.
Directing these shifts and movements requires an additional set of components. In the double wishbone suspension commonly found on newer cars, two steel plates called control arms and shaped a bit like wishbones hold the wheel in place. Each of these control arms meets the wheel hub using a sealed ball joint that can shift in several directions, much like the socket joint in your hip.
Sudden jolts and shaking aren't just comfortable. They can do significant damage over time. Because imperfection in the road surface and occasional instability are mostly unavoidable, a large spring is mounted between the control arms on each side. The shaft you can see in its center works like a pump to dissipate forces from bumps and potholes or uneven road surfaces.
To hold all these parts together and allow the car's alignment to be adjusted, tie rods run from the steering knuckle mounted on the wheel hub to a center link that runs the width of the vehicle. Often trucks and some cars will have a second bar running between the lower control arms called a sway bar or anti-sway bar to keep the suspension stabilized against itself at high speed or under heavy load.
Every one of the parts of your vehicle's suspension work together to react to steering and acceleration inputs, withstand changes in the road surface, and keep your ride smooth and comfortable. Each one of these components requires care and maintenance to continue operating efficiently.
Visit this website to learn more about car repair in San Diego.
Justin is a certified car nut and writes about all car topics. He has a special interest in performance parts, wheels and rims. Share his enthusiasm at livejournal blog.
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