The 7 Types of Car Suspension

The way the car feels to be driven clearly shows what the user experience is like with that vehicle in question. That is what the car’s suspension takes care of through the different systems it can offer. This makes it possible to feel safe behind the wheel and to be able to cover different terrains at the controls of a four-wheeled car.

That being said, throughout the new AutoUsaPremium entry we are going to try to explain how this very important element of the mechanical structure of any car works, as well as the different types that can be found in the models that we can find on the market. Which one is the best? Which one best suits my driving? At the end of the text you will know the answers.

Once we have finished the introduction of this new post, it is time to take action and explain in detail how exactly the suspension of a vehicle works and in what ways we can find it. Here we go.

How does the suspension of a car work?

The suspension can be defined as the system that is located between the wheels and the chassis. Its main functions are based on providing a certain amount of comfort while driving and safety with vehicle guidance. Its objective is none other than to ensure the stability of the car and, by extension, the integrity of the users who travel in it..

To achieve this, it tries to safeguard the adaptation to the irregularities that the terrain may present thanks to the availability of one on each tire. In addition, it has been studied in such a way that, when taking a bump, the oscillations of the bodywork are of the order of 1-2 Hz until it returns to complete rest. A frequency that adapts to the responses given by the human body to avoid feelings of dizziness or fatigue.

Nor should we forget that it has more purposes, such as keeping the steering angles at the set values ​​or reacting to the different forces of acceleration, braking and turning. For everything that has been discussed up to here, a fault in one of its components can have repercussions on the rest of the system if it is not solved in a short space of time. If we go into more detail,

The functions that the suspension of a car can carry out are the following:

  • Preserve the uniformity and perfection of the height of the car.
  • Support the weight of the bodywork or sprung mass.
  • Completely absorb the vibrations that are the result of driving through elastic elements.
  • Greatly reduce the effect of impacts on the car when moving, thus isolating irregularities and preventing damage to the body and chassis.
  • Maintain the alignment of the tires and their continuous contact with the road.
  • Provide stability and comfort by reducing impacts that may occur along the way.
  • It helps to maintain a certain stability in the curves.
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When dealing with the elements that make it up, we can distinguish between elastic, damping and rigid. The first ones avoid a sudden transmission of irregularities in the terrain, such as a spring or a crossbow, while the second ones are in charge of controlling the balance. The third parties are in charge of avoiding deformations that may occur in the body, so that they maintain a certain harmony in the movements on each side. Rigid elements may include the stabilizer bar and links.

The setting (force needed to deform a spring to a specific length) of the elastics and damping will largely determine the response provided by the suspension system, which can be guessed mathematically by these two constants. .

Two terms that should be known to understand everything we are talking about are suspended mass and unsuspended mass. The unsprung mass is made up of all those components that do not move when balancing a parked car, such as the wheels, brakes and suspension arms for example. Therefore, the smaller it is, the better its dynamics. The suspended mass constitutes, logically, all the components that movemainly when we balance leaning on a parked car.

Mathematics show that the smaller the ratio of unsprung mass divided by sprung mass, the better the overall grip and stability of the vehicle. Or in a few words: to improve the dynamic behavior of the car, the lowest possible unsprung mass will always be sought, which is why it is important to use alloy wheels, suspension knuckles made of light materials or inboard brakes.

What kinds of car suspensions?

After having explained a series of basic concepts about the operation of a suspension, now it is time to break down each of the types of suspensions that a vehicle can equip in its mechanical structure.

1. Rigid

This system is one of the most basic and old that can be found. Its operation is really simple, the wheels are attached to the chassis by the same rigid axis, the shock absorbers are bolted to the transversal bar of the bridge, the main recipient of the changes transmitted by the suspensions.

If in any case the vehicle overcomes an obstacle with a single wheel, the entire bridge will incline towards the direction established by the surface. In general, it is a system widely used by SUVs with the aim of driving on unpaved roads and on mountain climbs by land.

What they do is get the car to rise enough and the chassis is not so compromised. If there is a defect that can be pointed out about it, it is its instability, as well as its discomfort.

2. Semi-rigid

It is very similar in large part to the rigid, although it is distinguished from it thanks to an extra arm that reduces inclinations and vibrations. For this reason it is not so rigid, although at the same time it cannot boast of being independent. That’s defined by a low weight and by the fact that the wheel-ground interaction is partly transmitted to the body.

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It is made up of springs anchored to articulated supports which, in turn, are bolted to the differential and to a bar that crosses the entire bridge. It must be said that it is the most common to see since it is carried by the vast majority of basic cars that we see every day on the street.

3. Independent

Many classify it as the best that can be found on the market. Not surprisingly, it is the one that contains the most recent technology. In any case, each tire is isolated from the movement made by its lateral pair. It consists of horizontal and vertical elements that, depending on the amount you have of these, your response to irregularities will be one or the other.

It is pertinent to say that it is subdivided into various types of suspension systems: pneumatic, oscillating axle, McPherson, trailing arms, superimposed triangles and multilink.

3.1. Pneumatics

It consists of springs or inflatable cushions, a pressurized air circuit, height and acceleration sensors, and a distribution block. The main characteristic that defines it is that there is no direct contact between the wheels and the passenger compartment, which translates into greater ride comfort.

At the same time, implies a series of advantages such as the adaptation of the bodywork to different heights based on the march, or the same with the suspension and damping according to the different terrains or routes. Its main virtue is its effective absorption capacity for any type of vibration, potholes or breaks that may occur on the road, which creates an atmosphere of comfort both behind the wheel and for other passengers. It is mainly used in SUVs and luxury sedans.

3.2. Oscillating axle

The springs are located in joints attached to the rear bridge. Its operation is simple as it does not have torsion arms, only one connected to the bridge and the shock absorber to the chassis. Its main endorsement is to provide greater stability to the set that embodies the car.

3.3. McPherson

It is made up of two lower arms, or a triangle (both are possible) that monitor longitudinal and transversal movements. To do this, they use the shock absorber column as a connecting element. Its great advantage is that it is economical, as well as its simplicity and compact appearance.. However, by absorbing the unevenness of the terrain, the wheels make a vertical movement in an arc that does not keep the footprint of the tire constant.

3.4. with arms outstretched

In it, the springs are in the lower part, specifically in the arms of the rear bridge. There is more separation in the arms that house the springs, which is why it is suitable for urban environments.

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3.5. overlapping triangles

It is one of the most advanced, which is why it is mainly used in the world of competition. It has upper arms and joints, and when damping comes into play, the upper and lower arms deform.

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