I think it's really important to know a bit about the internals of a car, so that when you are getting your car serviced you can talk intelligently with the auto technician. As well, there are many easy DIY jobs you can do on your car to save your some money which can make all the difference when you are young and starting out. This site is where I am recording everything I am teaching my kids about auto servicing, and because I think it will be useful to many other families as well. I hope you find it useful for your family.
Do you or your passengers complain of feeling sick when you are out for an afternoon drive in your car? If so, you may well have issues with your suspension system, and you should take a closer look at the dampers. What are these components, how can they fail, and what should you do if you find a problem?
Understanding the Suspension System
While the suspension system can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, many vehicles will use the spring and damper setup. Your vehicle may be fitted with coil or leaf springs, but the intent is the same: to compensate for undulations in the road and make the vehicle more stable when travelling around a corner.
These springs are very good at managing the car's position on the road, but they would not work effectively without the second part of the equation – the damper. Without any dampers in place, the springs would keep on undulating for quite a long time after they started to work. This would make it very difficult to control the vehicle and would contribute to that seasick feeling.
Dampers in Action
The damper is filled with oil that moves under pressure through various chambers. It will work in tandem with the associated spring to regulate the vehicle movement and make driving as comfortable as possible.
Why Dampers Wear Out
A suspension damper will typically last for many years, but it can wear out more quickly if subjected to abuse. In other words, if you tend to drive on rough roads every day or do most of your motoring on gravel tracks, do not be surprised if the dampers begin to play up at some stage. Some of the oil may begin to leak through the various seals, and you may need to get the unit repaired or even replaced.
Figuring Out the Issue
Years ago, it used to be possible to bounce the car on the suspect corner to see if the damper was in good condition. In theory, the corner of the car should return to a resting position within one or two undulations after you had applied the downward movement. It is not too easy to do that these days, however, as suspension systems tend to be a bit more sophisticated. Therefore, you may need to take the vehicle to a mechanic first so that they can diagnose and carry out auto repairs.