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Car Suspension: What is it, and What Does it Do?

Team AckoFeb 20, 2023

When most of us talk about cars, we almost always talk about specifications like engine displacement, acceleration, power and torque figures, and all the tech they come laden with. A car's suspension is also an equally important component that is most often overlooked and its significance least understood. 

Have you ever wondered what makes a car's suspension work? How does it maintain its shape while on the road, and how does it affect your driving experience? If so, this article will help you understand everything you need to know about a car suspension system. 




Role of Car Suspension

A car suspension system is a set of components that connect a vehicle's wheels to the rest of the car. Its sole purpose is keeping the car stable by absorbing all external forces exerted on the wheels due to undulations on the road, potholes, speed breakers, or other obstacles. 

In simplest terms, a car suspension has two primary roles. The first is to improve a car's ride quality by absorbing most imperfections on the road, and the second is to ensure that the tyres are always in contact with the road under all driving conditions regardless of the type of surface or external forces acting on the vehicle. 

What are the Components that Make up a Car's Suspension? 

A car suspension comprises three major components, each performing a specific set of functions. Here are the details of each component.

The Springs

The primary role of a spring in a car suspension is to absorb or dampen all the impact or shocks the wheels experience when driving on roads. It is crucial in ensuring the wheels are always planted on the road. 

The Damper or Shock Absorber

Shock absorbers, as the name implies, do the job of dampening or absorbing the up-and-down movement or oscillation of the springs.

If a car suspension did not have this component to negate the oscillation of the springs, the entire vehicle would bounce all over the place, making handling it a nightmare. 

Shock absorbers take advantage of the compressive properties of hydraulic fluids inside them to negate the forces exerted on them by the springs. 

The Anti-Roll Bar 

The Anti-Roll Bar, also known as the anti-sway bar, is another crucial part of a car suspension system that helps reduce body roll during cornering or over uneven surfaces. 

It connects the lower arms of the left and right wheels to have good elastic properties. It transfers energy to the other wheel to compensate for the centrifugal forces generated when a vehicle goes around a corner. 

Types of Car Suspension

Various car suspension systems are in use today, depending on the vehicle type and whether they are on the front of the vehicle or at the back. Some of the most commonly used systems are listed below. 

Coil Springs

Coil springs are the most common type of suspension, and they're used in both front and rear suspensions. They're made up of steel wire wrapped around a tube connected to a spring mount that sits on top of your car's chassis.

The coil spring has two coils: one for compression and another for the extension. Applying force to the front end (when you hit a bump) compresses all four coils together.

When you release that force, they extend back out like an accordion with each other, creating resistance against your car moving forward or backwards at any given time (depending on how much weight has been placed on them).

Coil springs can be found in different cars because they offer excellent ride quality while keeping fuel consumption low.

Torsion Bars

The torsion bar system is a conventional suspension design used in different types of vehicles, including cars and trucks.

Torsion bars are located on the front end of your vehicle, where they connect to the frame. Each torsion bar has two springs attached—one at each end—and these tend to be stronger than any other spring type available today.

The most common torsion bar type consists of an iron rod bending through an arc before connecting back up with another steel rod at its opposite end. This type can be found in many applications, such as winches or cranes.

Here, it's used for lifting heavy loads or driving machinery forward and backwards against resistance from something else trying to stop you from moving forward or back with the momentum generated by gravity pulling down on both ends simultaneously.

Macpherson Struts

Macpherson strut suspensions use a strut to control the movement of a wheel. The strut is connected to the car body and the wheel hub.

Macpherson struts are named after their inventor, John Macpherson, who developed them in 1837 for use on steam-powered vehicles.

They were first used on trains in 1845. Still, they weren't widely adopted until after World War II, when they became more affordable due to mass production techniques such as injection moulding or robotic welding machines.

These could help make these expensive components much cheaper than before (which means more people could afford them).

Independent Suspension System

The independent suspension system is the most common type used in modern cars. Each wheel is connected to its spring, shock absorber, or solid axle. This allows for a more precise alignment of the wheels and consequently improves handling characteristics at high speeds.

Independent suspensions are also typically more expensive than other types because they require more parts to be made from scratch (rather than just snapping together).

Semi-Independent Suspension System

The semi-independent suspension system is a compromise between a rigid axle, which uses shock absorbers only on one side of the vehicle, and an independent suspension, which has shock absorbers on each side of the car.

The semi-independent suspension uses a solid axle with coil springs and shocks mounted at each corner (front and rear). In most cases, these components are bolted directly to the frame instead of being attached to either side of an existing chassis member, such as an A-arm or kingpin.


A car suspension system is an essential aspect of the vehicle that often goes overlooked. It becomes apparent just how critical a well-functioning suspension is when something goes wrong with a car suspension.

Your car suspension system helps improve performance by reducing vibrations and keeping the tires in contact with the road surface. So, if you learned a lot about car suspension systems before, now's the time to learn about them before you hit the road again.

Just as a car's suspension plays a crucial role in keeping your car comfortable to drive and manageable, a good motor vehicle insurance policy can do the same with your finances in the event you are ever involved in an accident. ACKO has the best auto insurance plans to suit your various coverage needs. Check out our plans today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some common questions about car suspension.


What is the primary role of a car suspension? 

The primary role of a car suspension is to provide a smooth ride and ensure all the wheels stay in contact with the road's surface for maximum grip and stability. 

When were cars first fitted with suspension systems?

The Mors Automobile factory, a French car manufacturer, was the first to fit an automobile with a shock absorber in 1901.

How often does a car suspension need to be replaced? 

Modern car suspension systems often last between 50,000 - 1 lakh km. This, however, depends on the road conditions the vehicle is driven on and how carefully it was driven on such roads.

What are the tell-tale signs that a car suspension is failing?

If you notice any of the following, it means that your car suspension system needs to be checked and replaced if required.

  • Your vehicle bounces over bad roads.

  • Your vehicle nosedives every time you brake.

  • You notice excessive body roll while converting 

  • You notice a dramatic drop in ride quality.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on several secondary sources on the internet and is subject to changes. Please consult an expert before making any related decisions.


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