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Steering & Suspension
Shop replacement steering and suspension parts online
Steering and suspension are two different systems that work together and play a vital role in the safe operation of your car. The suspension system supports the weight of the vehicle while the steering system provides directional control.
These parts endure wear and tear with regular driving and may not be included in the manufacturer’s warranty, but it’s essential that both systems are in safe working order to avoid loss of control on the road. You may experience steering wheel vibrations, knocking noises, and stiff or loose components when your parts are worn out.
NAPA Auto Parts is your one-stop solution for steering and suspension parts online. Search the make, model, and/or reg of your car using our VRM Look Up to discover the right parts for your vehicle — or browse by part.
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How does the steering and suspension system work?
The steering system allows the driver to control the direction of the vehicle by ensuring the wheels turn as needed. To do this, the steering wheel sends feedback through a complex system of track rods, tie rods, and steering arms, which turn the wheels accordingly.
Vehicles are typically fitted with power steering systems, which reduces the effort needed to turn the steering wheel, and “rack and pinion” mechanisms for a greater steering feel.
At the same time, the steering wheel communicates with the suspension system via the steering column and a series of joints.
Suspension works hard to provide stability and comfort. The system evens out bumps in the road while maximising tyre traction, providing a smooth ride for the people inside and keeping the wheels grounded. Springs — most often coil springs — absorb the shock of any bumps while dampers — like shock absorbers and bushes (bushings) — dissipate that energy, keeping the vehicle’s weight in an even position. Suspension arms, joints, and bushes help to support the weight and keep the wheels in alignment with the car.
Some vehicle manufacturers replace the compressing action of the springs with hydropneumatics (hydraulic fluid and nitrogen) or air suspension.
The two systems working together also prevent the car from rolling when navigating corners. When the suspension system lowers on the inside of the curve, it absorbs the strain and keeps the car’s wheels on the road.
What are the 9 most common signs of steering and suspension failure?
The components within a steering and suspension system are less likely to fail than other areas of your vehicle, but they still wear down over time. Symptoms can happen so gradually you may not even notice them, or they may be mistaken for an entirely different problem. This system should be inspected with regular servicing so components can be replaced when they show signs of wear.
Here are 9 common signs of steering and suspension problems:
1. Steering wheel vibrating when turning. Excessive steering wheel vibrations can be a sign of unbalanced wheels or faults within the braking or engine systems, but it can also indicate a problem with the steering system, particularly the ball joints and bushes. A full check should be conducted before diagnosing the problem.
2. Feeling every bump when driving. A bumpy ride is a clear sign that your suspension is faulty. To check, you can conduct a bounce test. Push your entire weight down on the car’s bonnet, release, and count the bounces. If it bounces more than twice, your struts or shock absorbers likely need to be replaced.
3. Instability when braking or turning. If your car nose dives forward when you brake, rolls heavily to the side when you turn a corner or roundabout, or squats backwards when accelerating, this could be another sign that your struts or shocks are not performing correctly.
4. Vehicle pulls to one side when driving straight. If your steering wheel pulls while you’re driving straight, it’s likely an issue with your wheel alignment. When the wheels are misaligned but the tyres show no signs of uneven wear, the fault could be a loose or worn steering rack or steering power belt. This could lead to a power steering failure.
5. Vehicle pulls to one side when turning. Also known as ‘memory steer’, if your car continues to pull to the left or right after completing a turn in that direction, it could mean that your ball joints are dry, worn, or affected by debris. It could indicate a damaged anti-roll bar, especially if accompanied by a knocking noise. All bearings and pivot points should be checked for problems.
6. Noises when turning.
Knocking or clunking noise. This could indicate a loose or broken tie rod, a damaged anti-roll bar, or a failing sway bar link. If the anti-roll bar or sway bar link are the cause, it will likely be accompanied by poor handling.
Creaking noise. This can be a sign of worn out or broken suspension joints, dry bushes, or a fault with the springs or ball joints.
Whining, grinding, or screeching noise. At low speeds, this could be the power steering pump. At normal speeds, it indicates a fault within the power steering system.
Crunching noise during high-speed turns. In this instance, it’s likely caused by the CV joints.
7. More resistance on the steering wheel. If it feels like it requires more effort and force to steer the wheel, this is a sign the power steering has failed. The most common causes of this are low power steering fluid (which could indicate a leak if the problem reoccurs), a faulty power steering pump, or worn control arm bushings.
8. One side or corner of the car is lower than the others. If the tyres are equally inflated, one side or corner of the car being lower is a good indication that a spring inside the suspension system is worn or damaged. Coil springs can become cracked.
9. Greasy shock absorbers or foamy liquid under car. If you notice a puddle of discoloured foamy liquid under your car, or a visual check of your suspension system reveals that the shocks or struts are oily, these could be the result of a power steering fluid leak.
Steering and suspension components are critical to your safety on the road. When experiencing any of these problems, it’s vital that your car is serviced by a mechanic as soon as possible.
Sudden and total steering failure is rare but not impossible. In this situation, don’t panic. The first step is to activate your hazard lights and slow down gradually. You may still be able to pull over if only your power steering has failed, but it will take a lot of strength to turn the steering wheel. If you’re unable to do this, you will need to stop without pulling over. Come to a slow so the drivers around you have enough time to react.
A vehicle that has experienced complete or partial steering failure should not be driven until the parts have been replaced. NAPA Auto Parts makes all efforts to deliver your replacement parts as fast as possible to get your vehicle back on the road.
How often should steering and suspension parts be replaced?
Steering and suspension components are highly durable and can last 50,000 to 100,000 miles. However, in hydraulic power steering systems, the power steering fluid should be checked and topped up at every oil change, and it should be changed completely every two years or 30,000 miles.
Always check the advice provided by the relevant manufacturer and ensure your vehicle is serviced regularly. For your safety, the steering and suspension systems should be inspected at every oil change and service.
How much does it cost to replace steering and suspension parts?
The price of replacement steering and suspension parts in the UK can vary depending on brand, quality, and the products required. Some parts have a higher replacement cost than others, but NAPA Auto Parts is committed to bringing you great quality at affordable prices.
Save on a vast catalogue of front and rear springs, shock absorbers, struts, bushes, top mounts, tie rod ends, track rod ends, steering racks and boots, steering pumps, suspension spheres and joints, and more with NAPA Auto Parts UK.