View Full Version : History of suspension components

11-21-2005, 02:26 PM
History of suspension components

The first cars ever built were basically horse carriages with an engine. Speeds were very low and suspension was not really a necessity. As speed increased, comfort became a major issue. Good seats to soften the bumps were a first solution. At the end of the 19th century pneumatic tires were a good step forward.

Vehicle manufacturers began finding solutions finding leaf springs to greatly improve on comfort, but dampening its spring movement was soon found to be obvious as well. The up and down oscillations of the leaf springs were damped by a device called a "shock absorber." These first shock absorbers were simply two arms connected by a bolt, with a friction disc between them. Resistance was adjusted by tightening or loosening the bolt. As might be expected, these shocks were not very durable. And their performance left much to be desired.

Over the years, suspension systems evolved into sophisticated design. Concepts and components have changed, and continue to change, dramatically. But, the basic objectives remain the same:
-To provide steering stability with good handling characteristics.
-To maximize passenger comfort.

Achieving these objectives under all the variables of a vehicle in motion is what we call ride control. The suspension system allows the vehicle body to ride relatively undisturbed while traveling over rough roads. It also allows the vehicle to corner with minimum roll or sway, stop with a minimum of brake dive, and accelerate with a minimum of acceleration squat. This dynamic control will keep the tires in contact with the road.

Most people believe that shocks and struts are only necessary for improving a vehicle's riding comfort and handling. In truth, they do much more than that; their job is to help keep tires on the road surface. A vehicle riding on worn shocks and struts may be unsafe not only to the driver and passengers, but also to other vehicles on the road. By replacing your worn shocks and struts, you're providing yourself with a safer, more secure vehicle.

*Special thanks to Koni NA