Importance of Ride Control

Today, there many drivers that are uninformed about the impact poor ride control can have on the safety and performance of their vehicle. Many think that ride comfort is the sole reason why shocks or struts may need replacing. Ride control is even more important with today’s antilock brake and stability control systems, as well as electronic suspensions and self-leveling suspensions. Stability control systems are calibrated to work with the spring rates and dampening characteristics engineered into the vehicle. If the shocks or struts are leading to poor control, and/or the springs are weak or sagging, the stability control system may be unable to control the vehicle as effectively as when these parts were new. Worn rear shocks, for example, can allow much more wheel bounce when braking on a rough road. If the tires are losing contact with the road, it may trigger the antilock brake system unnecessarily. When making sudden steering maneuvers, excessive body roll or suspension motion could prevent the stability control system from limiting understeer or oversteer by counterbraking. So with today’s high-tech systems, weak shocks and struts can affect a lot more than ride comfort. Many vehicles today have electronic suspension with adjustable shocks/struts and/or self-leveling and adjustable ride height systems. Some of the applications combine variable dampening rates with variable rate air springs to optimize handling, ride comfort and cornering agility. The body control computer monitors vehicle speed, steering angle and G-forces, and in some cases, suspension movement to vary the characteristics of the suspension. The shocks and struts may have an internal solenoid valve or electric motor that repositions the valving to vary the resistance of the dampers. On other applications, the shock may contain a magnetorheological fluid that changes thickness when exposed to a magnetic field created by a coil inside the shock. These high-tech shocks provide both a smooth ride and firm handling when everything is working. But, like hydraulic shocks and struts, they eventually wear out or fail electronically. And when they no longer work, they can be very expensive to replace. A more cost effective option is to replace the electronic shocks/struts with conventional dampers. A few handling upgrade options include high-pressure gas charged monotube and twin-tube shocks, some of which are fully adjustable and can be tuned to changing conditions. They can have a comfortable ride, then dial up the shocks for more firmness.

For more information on obtaining a Ride Control and Brake Inspection at Falcon Auto Repair please call 310.329.8969 and speak to one of our automotive service consultants today! Proudly serving Carson, Gardena, Torrance, Compton and their surrounding areas.