Monthly Archives: June 2010

Suspension

The suspension system supports the body and chassis and attaches them to the wheels. Suspension is also the system that gives us a nice comfortable ride. Were it not for your car’s suspension, every time you went over a bump, the car would bounce, and bounce, and bounce.

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Variable Ratio Power Steering (Computer Assisted)

If the belt for the pump breaks or the fluid in the reservoir is too low, the power assist may be lost. You will still be able to steer, but you’ll have to really crank on that steering wheel to get it to turn.

One side effect of power assist is a diminished sense of connection to the road. To compensate, some manufacturers now electronically reduce the power assist to the steering when you’re traveling at highway speeds, where the extra boost is not needed, and reinstate it when you’re traveling at slower speeds. This variable ratio power steering makes it easy to park without losing that good “road feel” when driving..  The next step was to progress to “self parking“  as in the Ford Focus self-parking systems .

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Money-Saving Tip

Rack and pinion systems are bathed in lubricant coverings called “boots” Rubber seals keep the lubricant in and the dirt out. Like most rubber, the seals shrink and crack with age, especially in cold weather. If you notice the steering wheel is hard to turn on cold mornings, have the steering inspected. A  comprehensive and detailed routine inspection or set of inspections pay in terns of reduced auto maintenance budgets and transportation reliability. . A bit of special lubricant applied by a professional and specifically made for revitalizing seals may help. If the steering rack is faulty, you may even be entitled to special goodwill compensation from your automobile maker and new car dealership service centers  if this is a well-known problem.  One more handy and useful  money saving tip for auto owners and drivers.

 

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Power Steering

Steering wheel, driving these cars may have been easy on the driver’s arms but not so on their legs, for the driver and passengers often walked home after the car skittered off the road. To be up close and personal with ditches was not a desired condition, but it was a frequent one.

With the introduction and acceptance of wider tires, vehicles stayed on the road better, but they were more difficult to park in small spaces. Parking a car weighing more than 2,000 pounds became a chore fit only for weightlifters.

Power steering adds the turning power of the engine  to the turning power of the steering gears. This assistance comes from a belt-driven power steering pump. This pump pressurizes the power steering fluid, which is held in a reservoir. The fluid pressure increases turning power. Consequently, less manual pressure is needed to turn the steering wheel.

Money-Saving Tip

“Front end work,” a term that lumps together all repairs on the steering and suspension components, has traditionally been an area of high consumer dissatisfaction. If a technician recommends the replacement of steering or suspension components, ask the shop to show you what method is being used to determine wear. Often it is the manufacturer’s specifications (tolerances) that determine excess wear, not the earlier method of shaking or moving a component. For this precise diagnosis a technician needs a sophisticated dial-indicator gauge.

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The Greaseless Guide to Car Care

  • If you have to add fluid every time you check the dipstick, there’s probably a leak in the system. Have it inspected by a professional.
  • When adding fluid, check your owner’s manual for the correct type. Power steering and automatic transmission fluids are not interchangeable, and substitutions can cause serious problems.
  • Have the suspension and steering components inspected and adjusted at manufacturer’s recommended intervals. The rods, levers, and connectors wear with use and stretch with age. Proper inspection and adjustment will extend their useful life by many thousands of miles.
  • Watch for signs of shock absorber wear, which can be detected by stepping down on one side of the bumper and then releasing it. If the car continues to bounce up and down more than three times, you probably have a worn shock absorber.

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Making Your Car Go the Distance:Steering and Suspension Systems

Here are some tips to keep these systems in good working order:

  • Check the power steering fluid level in the reservoir or have it checked about once a month, and top it off when necessary. The dipstick is usually located under the cap of the power steering pump.
  • If you have to add fluid every time you check the dipstick, there’s probably a leak in the system. Have it inspected by a professional.
  • When adding fluid, check your owner’s manual for the correct type. Power steering and automatic transmission fluids are not interchangeable, and substitutions can cause serious problems.
  • Have the suspension and steering components inspected and adjusted at manufacturer’s recommended intervals. The rods, levers, and connectors wear with use and stretch with age.  Proper inspection and  adjustment will extend their useful life by many thousands of miles.
  • Watch for signs of shock absorber wear, which can be detected by stepping down on one side of the bumper and then releasing it. If the car continues to bounce up and down more than three times, you probably have a worn shock absorber.

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It’s Not Just Vanilla Anymore

Many of today’s vehicles come with a variety of suspension choices, from a base system to off-road, from sport to touring. Each has its own distinctive comfort and handling characteristics. When looking at suspension features, first evaluate your own driving needs. Be sure you test drive a vehicle with the same suspension system that you will be buying. Test drive different types, but be sure that you really need the super-duper, more expensive suspension before you pay for it. If you’re a speed-limit highway driver, you may be buying a feature that you will never take advantage of.

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