Identifying and Inspecting Suspension and Steering Components

There are a lot of different elements of a suspension and steering system that must be monitored routinely for wear and degradation. Many of the suspension and steering components can be visually inspected from underneath your vehicle once raised on a service lift.

We inspect the tie rod ends, inner and outer, to make sure that the boots are in good condition and zero movement exists within the joint. A lot of the components on modern vehicles now come without grease fittings and rely on the grease charge that they had when they were new to keep them healthy for a long time. If the boots deteriorate or tear, that grease charge will be lost. When a grease charge is lost, water can penetrate, corrosion can set in, and the part will very quickly wear out, or worse fail. If the tie rod ends have grease fittings, we ensure that we service them each time you have your vehicle in for an oil change, or as requested by the customer – it’s just part of our service.

Tie Rod End

Next, we look at the upper and lower ball joints. Again, we check to ensure the boots and fittings are in good condition, and in most cases, zero lateral movement.

Ball Joint

We inspect the stabilizer links to make sure their bushings are in good condition. We’re looking to see that they’re not broken or missing.

We check the sway bar itself and visually inspect the bushings and mounts. We also visually inspect for fluid leaks as we move from component to component underneath.

Sway Bar and Bushings

More and more cars and light trucks use an electronic steering system. While we don’t typically find fluid leaks here we still consider wear and tear of the linkage.

Next are the Struts and Shock Absorbers. We inspect the lower mounts for bushing wear and tear.

Shock and Lower Bushing

We inspect the springs, seats and upper strut bearings if equipped. We are checking to see if the springs are broken, sagging or the seats have worn. We also inspect the bushings for no lateral or vertical movement within the mount.

Spring

We search for signs of any problem with the boots on the steering rack assembly. If they’re torn that means road debris, water, and dirt can infiltrate the inner tie rods or degrade the rack seals thereby developing wear within the system.

Steering Rack Assembly Boot

Suspension system inspections are not limited to the front of the vehicle only. There are struts or shocks on the rear of the vehicle that also need to be inspected.

We look for signs of leaks around the shock body and at the piston seals and packing. A very light stain or appearance of moisture can be normal. If we find fluid running out though, that is a problem. We consider the age of the shocks and perform a Jounce Test to detect potential issues. Those little steel wafers inside the shocks provide dampening of the thousands and thousands of very small irregularities your suspension absorbs on any given road. Struts and Shocks wear out, sag or break and no longer provide the quality ride they did when they were new. We check service information and any recommendations it provides. It’s not uncommon to recommend Struts or Shocks be replaced based on age.

Shock Body

Next is the track bar, trailing or leading arms. We make sure those bushings are in good shape because this component aids in steering stability. We thrive on safety so any concerns found here, or elsewhere will be relayed to you, our valued customer.

We also check the condition of the bump stops in both the front and the rear of the vehicle.

Bump Stops

As you can see, there’s a lot to suspension and steering systems. A complete inspection checks all of these components on the front and the rear of the vehicle, on both the left and right sides.

Let Tierra Del Sol Automotive inspect your vehicle today – to ensure your safety. Stop by the shop or give us a call today. (575) 443-1880