Lean Times (Shocks and Springs)
Posted in Shocks & Struts on December 20, 2020
You may have noticed your vehicle going through lean times. By that, we mean it's literally leaning to one side. When you notice that, you should get it checked out at your service facility soon because you could have a serious problem.
Many things can cause a vehicle to lean. You may have problems with your struts, shocks or springs. They all work in tandem to make your ride more comfortable. The struts bear the weight of the vehicle's body, the shock absorbers employ a piston that keeps your tires in contact with the road and controls movement of the vehicle's body. Springs also absorb impacts from uneven road surfaces.
If these components get stuck, either too high or too low, they cause your vehicle to lean. That's because that side of the vehicle isn't at the height it is designed to be. A technician will determine where the problem is. Outside elements such as moisture plus hard knocks to these components can weaken them, eventually resulting in a failure. The metal can get so fatigued that it breaks. Often when one side of a vehicle is too high or too low, your service advisor will advise you to have the other side done as well. That's because if only one side has new parts installed, it won't be level with the side that has old parts.
There are a couple of other reasons vehicles can lean. One is that the suspension can be bent or the chassis twisted, again due to wear and tear by driving on rough roads, over badly maintained railroad tracks or in deep potholes.
Another reason your vehicle may lean is that the tires and/or wheels aren't all the same size. Or one side might have drastically over or underinflated tires. This can be a dangerous condition since the imbalance can affect steering and handling.
Considering what drivers put suspension parts, tires and wheels through, it's not surprising that they can be punished so much that they don't hold up like we want them to. A level-headed driver will make sure to be driving a level vehicle by making sure these components are maintained in good condition.