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Types of Suspension Systems in India and How Do They Function

Explore the diverse suspension systems used in Indian cars and learn how they function to enhance vehicle performance, comfort, and safety.

  • 07 Sep 2023
  • 4 min read

Have you ever wondered how cars and other vehicles smoothly glide over bumpy roads without rattling everyone inside? Well, the secret lies in their suspension systems! In India, different types of suspension systems play a vital role in ensuring a comfortable and safe ride. But what exactly are these suspension systems, and how do they work? Let’s find out.


What are the different types of suspension systems in India?


1. Leaf Spring Suspension 

It is a simple form of suspension that uses several metal strips, called leaves, stacked on each other to absorb shocks and vibrations from the road. It gets commonly used for heavy vehicles like trucks and buses, but some cars in India also have leaf spring suspension, especially in the rear axle. 


2. Trailing Arm Suspension

It is a type of independent rear suspension system for cars that uses a large, horizontal arm to connect the wheel hub to the vehicle frame. The arm pivots at one point, ahead of the wheel, and allows the wheel to move up and down with the road surface. 


3. Non-Independent Suspension

This vehicle suspension connects both wheels on the same axle with a solid beam or bar. This means the other wheel tilts slightly when one wheel moves up or down due to a bump or pothole. It is suitable for handling heavy loads and navigating challenging roads.


4. Independent Suspension

This type of vehicle suspension entails an enhanced damping effect. There is no link between the movement of the right and left wheels, which allows the vehicle to move independently. The structure is a bit complex as the layout of dampers and springs differs considerably with distinct categories of independent suspensions.


5. Double Wishbone Suspension

It is a type of suspension where the wheels get mounted on two arms, usually of unequal length, along with a coil spring and shock absorber. It is used in sports cars and luxury cars, as well as some trucks and SUVs. It offers great handling, stability, and control at high speeds because it has a low centre of gravity and allows each wheel to react independently from the others. 


6. MacPherson Strut Suspension

It is a type of front suspension system that uses the top of a shock absorber as the upper steering pivot for the wheel. It consists of a coil spring, a shock absorber, and a control arm that connects the wheel hub to the chassis. It allows the wheel to move up and down independently of the other wheels, improving ride comfort and handling. 


7. Air Suspension

This vehicle suspension system uses airbags or bellows instead of conventional or leaf springs. It provides better ride comfort, handling, and load-carrying capacity by adjusting the air pressure in the airbags according to the road conditions and vehicle load.


8. Multi-Link Suspension

It is a type of independent suspension that uses multiple linkages to control the movement and alignment of the wheels. It offers better handling and ride comfort than non-independent suspension, as it can isolate the effects of bumps and corners on each wheel. Multi-link suspension is also more adaptable and adjustable, as it allows fine-tuning of the suspension geometry and characteristics.

How does a car suspension system work?

A car suspension system comprises springs that can retain the kinetic energy produced by friction when the vehicle moves on a rough road at high speeds. Subsequently, this stored energy gets transferred to the dampers, where it converts into heat energy. 

The fluid within the dampers efficiently disperses this energy, preventing overheating issues. As a result of the coordinated action between springs and dampers, you can experience optimal safety and comfort during your ride. Even though suspension offers enough stability control, buying car insurance is recommended to overcome any financial challenges arising from a road mishap.

Also read:

What are the different parts of car suspension?

Now that you know the types of car suspension, let’s look at the most common parts of car suspension systems.

  • Springs: These are elastic components that store and release energy when compressed or stretched. They support the weight of the vehicle and maintain the ride height. Springs can get made of metal, rubber, or plastic. 
  • Shock Absorbers: These hydraulic devices dampen the springs’ oscillations and reduce the vehicle's bounce and sway. They convert the spring's kinetic energy into heat, which a fluid or gas dissipates. Some examples of shock absorbers are twin-tube, monotube, and gas-filled shock absorbers.
  • Struts: They are structural components that combine a shock absorber and a coil spring in a single unit. They support the weight of the vehicle and provide lateral stability. Struts also affect the alignment and steering of the wheels. Some examples of struts are MacPherson, Chapman, and double wishbone struts.
  • Control Arms: These are metal bars that connect the wheels to the frame or body of the vehicle. They allow for vertical movement of the wheels while keeping them aligned with the car. Control arms can be upper or lower, depending on their position relative to the wheel. Some examples of control arms are A-arms, L-arms, and trailing arms.
  • Ball Joints: These are spherical bearings that connect the hubs or steering knuckles to the control hubs. They allow for rotational movement of the wheels in different directions. Ball joints can be loaded or unloaded, depending on whether they support the weight of the vehicle or not. Some examples of ball joints are press-fit, bolt-on, and screw-in ball joints.
  • Bushings: These are rubber or polyurethane cushions that reduce friction and noise between metal parts of the suspension. They also absorb vibrations and shocks from the road. Bushings can be found in various places in the suspension, such as control arms, sway bars, and subframes. Some examples of bushings are rubber, polyurethane, and metal bushings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is the use of coil and leaf springs?

Coil springs are helical and provide a smoother ride, commonly used in modern cars. Leaf springs consist of rugged stacked metal plates suitable for heavy-duty applications like trucks and trailers, providing load-carrying capacity and stability.

Q2. How are dampers used?

Dampers are used in vehicles' suspension systems to control the oscillations and vibrations caused by uneven road surfaces. They work by absorbing and dissipating the kinetic energy generated by the springs. It provides a smoother, more controlled ride, enhancing vehicle stability and handling.

Q3. What is the function of a spring?

The function of a spring is to support the vehicle's weight and absorb road impacts. The spring compresses and stores potential energy when the car encounters bumps or rough surfaces. This stored energy is released, helping the vehicle maintain contact with the road and providing a smoother ride.

Q4. How to find out if your suspension needs servicing?

It is best to look for signs like excessive bouncing, a rough ride, uneven tire wear, pulling to one side, or fluid leaks around the shock absorbers. Also, listen for unusual noises while driving. If you notice any of these issues, having a professional mechanic inspect and service your suspension is best.

Q5. What is the function of a suspension in a car?

The function of a suspension in a car is to provide a smooth and controlled ride by absorbing road shocks and vibrations. It also ensures that all four wheels maintain contact with the road surface, improving stability, handling, and braking performance, ultimately enhancing overall driving comfort and safety.

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