The change of season is upon us, and what’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word Spring? Suspensions (or Slinkys, but I wasn’t allowed to right a video about Slinkys).

What is a suspension system?

A suspension system is the series of springs, dampeners and linkages that connects your tyres to the rest of your car. By keeping the car’s tyres and the road in contact with each other, the suspension provides steering stability, helping the driver control the car, and making it a more comfortable ride.

Why do we need suspensions?

Roads aren’t flat – just ask anyone driving in South Africa, the pothole capital of the world. As your car drives, it encounters irregularities on the roads surface that cause the kinetic energy of your car to be transferred upwards from the road into the rest of the car (thanks, Newton).

The car’s suspension system absorb and dampen this energy (shock absorbers, get it?), preventing your car from leaving the roads surface and slamming back down again. Not only is that uncomfortable, but when your car’s tyres leave the road’s surface its steering is compromised, making it more difficult to control – I don’t need to explain why this could be bad, do I?

It’s not just bumps that suspension needs to worry about, either: your car’s contact with the road also changes as it corners, brakes or accelerates, since these actions cause the car’s weight to shift from side to side, or back and forth.

How does a car’s suspension system work?

Here’s a super informative video that tells you all you need to know about suspensions:

Video published by Engineering Explained (11 Feb 2012)

Oh, and remember when I said I couldn’t write about Slinkys? I lied!

Here’s an awesome video of a guy doing slinky juggling.

Video published by Kuma Films (23 Mar 2017)