There are two different designs of modern suspension systems: independent suspension system and live axle suspension system. An independent suspension system will have each wheel move up and down independent of all the other wheels, hence the name. There are still some cars and trucks that are manufactured with a live axle suspension system, where an axle in the back moves up and down – causing the wheels to move in tandem with each other.
The advantage with independent suspension systems is that they handle better and offer a more comfortable ride compared to their live axle counterpart. A live axle suspension system, however, is stronger and less expensive to build.
The two most common types of steering systems are the rack-and-pinion steering system and the recirculating ball steering system. Rack-and-pinion systems are the steering system outfitted in most regular cars, while the recirculating ball steering system is used in trucks and utility vehicles. A rack-and-pinion steering system is similar to the independent suspension system, in that both offer a more comfortable ride and better handling than their counterpart. Likewise, the recirculating ball steering system, just like the live axle suspension system, is built tougher and less expensive to build.
Struts and Shocks
Shocks help absorb the impact the suspension receives while going over bumps or uneven road surfaces. A suspension strut combines the coil spring and shock absorber into one component, which reduces the weight and amount of space that it takes up in your vehicle.
Rack-and-Pinion Steering Gear
In a rack-and-pinion steering system, the steering wheel controls a shaft that is connected to the pinion steering gear, which moves the steering rack in the direction you are turning. The gear also has tie rod ends attached to them that help steer the wheels.
Power steering is the latest steer system that has been introduced to the automotive industry to run alongside the traditional steer systems. Power steering systems will utilize hydraulic or electric power to remove steering effort from the driver and make steering much more smoother and easier. Power steering becomes especially beneficial at low speeds and while parking. A power steering pump is the main additional component that controls power steering by providing the force necessary to power steer.« Back to Glossary Index