Auto Dictionary: What Is A Vehicle’s Suspension?

No matter if you’re in a work-ready pickup truck or a performance-oriented sports car, you’ve felt the effects — and the differences — of a vehicle’s suspension.

A suspension system includes a vehicle's tires, springs, shock absorbers and connecting parts and is designed to connect a vehicle to its wheels and allow the necessary amount of motion between the two. The suspension system contributes to both a vehicle’s handling and its ride quality, making it an extremely important factor in a vehicle’s safety and comfort.

Put bluntly, the suspension absorbs energy from the road. It absorbs bumps and other impacts caused by the road’s surface to make sure passengers have a comfortable experience.

Most modern vehicles have independent suspension in the front and back, which means that wheels can travel independently of each other instead of being dependant on the suspension of other wheels. Independent suspension increases traction and handling, making these vehicles safer and giving the driver more control over the vehicle.

There are two main components of any suspension: ride and handling. Ride is the vehicle’s ability to absorb imperfections on the road and provide a smooth experience and handling is the vehicle’s ability to accelerate, brake and maneuver.

Various parts and systems contribute to a vehicle’s suspension, including the frame, tires, wheels, springs, shock absorbers, struts and anti-sway bars, and more. The struts and shock absorbers are some of the most crucial elements (not to say that the other parts aren’t crucial). Both shocks and struts serve as dampers, which absorb the energy generated from road imperfections and keep it from affecting the ride quality too much.

There are many specifics pertaining to different types of suspension systems, but the above serves as a general explanation of what a suspension is and how it affects each drive you take in a vehicle. For more about various car parts and systems, stay tuned for other auto dictionary posts in the near future.

Categories: Technology


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