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Old 1st May 2021, 19:59   #1
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Default How do you know when its time to overhaul the suspension?

Hello

I am having a 2013 i10 1.2 Kappa 2 (before the Grand). The car has clocked approx 50000 kms as on date. I upgraded from the stock 155/80/13 to Apollo 175/75/13 along with Neo alloys around the 33k mark.

Almost 40k kms of this journey (2013 - 2018) have been covered on well laid out roads of Chandigarh and surrounding cities, although my daily runs were 3 kms to office and 3 kms back to home. 2018-20 saw my car cover longer routes in Tirupur, Coimbatore etc, i.e, beautiful roads again. However, I had started to notice that the bonnet part felt slightly raised as compared to the back. Also, the car seems to get bogged down at the bottom even when I sit inside. In 2020, I shifted to Hosur (poorly-designed-speadbreaker-capital-of-the-world) and I have felt that the car is bottoming out on many of the horrendous speed breakers. Till now, I have had one of the plastic cladding in the front wheel wells shredded due to my tires hitting the bumper and dislodging it from the grooves.

I somehow have a theory that the suspension, especially the shock absorbers, have given up on me now. I did have one shock absorber changed in the 1st year under warranty, but 7 years and counting, nothing much has changed from 2013 in my car.

I am getting transferred back to Chandigarh next month, and plan to give my car a mid-life makeover. The tires are still good for another 20000 kms.

Can someone suggest what all signs I need to look our for my suspension assembly/shock absorbers/rubber mounts having given up on me? And whether 8 years is a good enough and acceptable time for the rubber mounts to become bad? I dont mind spending Rs 10-15k on the suspension assembly if it means my car is good to go for another 6 years without bothering my pocket much.
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Old 1st May 2021, 20:40   #2
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Default re: How do you know when its time to overhaul the suspension?

A couple of years ago during routine maintenance, my car was raised and lowered back for removing the tyres to service the brakes at my FNG. This happened in front of me since I was free and wanted to see the work being carried out. When the work was completed, the tyres were fit back and I took the car out for a spin to check it out. The car felt like a basket ball. Apparently one of the rear suspension struts had failed before, but somehow continued to work until the car was raised. Once raised, the piston of the strut wouldn't go back inside. Since I was at the FNG itself the problem was diagnosed and replaced both the struts (rear) since I didn't want one old and one new in the rear. For that quick spin I took out, the car was terrible and not worthy to drive and felt like a horse cart !

I guess there are no ways to check it out other than going to each corner of the car and pushing it down. In this case since you have an i10, keep the bonnet and boot open, locate the suspension point and try pushing the car down at that point. It should go down and return up. That day, when I had the failure, one rear corner of the car refused to go down. You can also look for visible sign of any liquid leaks using a torch when the car is raised. Also cars with suspension failure tend to pull to one side resulting in excess wear and tear of tyres on one side.
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Old 1st May 2021, 20:52   #3
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Default re: How do you know when its time to overhaul the suspension?

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Last edited by GTO : 2nd May 2021 at 16:59.
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Old 1st May 2021, 20:57   #4
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Default re: How do you know when its time to overhaul the suspension?

First of all, under normal circumstances, 50k kms is not a major distance for a car to replace the suspension. Going by the description, if car has run 40k kms on smooth roads and has run 10k kms on rough roads and humps, 80% chances are, suspension is still good.

The symptoms for time to replace are

1. Rough or bumpy ride quality
2. Too hard or too soft ride on bad roads
3. Drift to right or left(This is majorly due to alignment but, if the drift exist even after alignment, you may suspect suspensions)
4. Uneven tire wear(again, there are several reasons for this. Suspension is also a reason)

The method mechanics adopt to confirm if the suspension needs attention is:

1. Park the car on a flat even surface
2. Remove all luggage from the car and leave it stock
3. Press the corner of the car hard.
4. Compare the amount of cushion the car provides with another car whose suspension is good.

The car with a bad suspension will either be soft or hard compared to reference car.

Repeat the exercise with all corners and you can come to conclusion.

Although people say suspension can be overhauled, I personally prefer to change the suspension to new one instead of overhauling.

Reason being, it may be psychological, but I feel the overhauled suspensions do not give original ride quality.

Last edited by GTO : 2nd May 2021 at 07:12. Reason: Language
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Old 1st May 2021, 22:19   #5
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Default re: How do you know when its time to overhaul the suspension?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasjotbains View Post
Hello

I am having a 2013 i10 1.2 Kappa 2 (before the Grand). The car has clocked approx 50000 kms as on date. I upgraded from the stock 155/80/13 to Apollo 175/75/13 along with Neo alloys around the 33k mark.
However, I had started to notice that the bonnet part felt slightly raised as compared to the back. Also, the car seems to get bogged down at the bottom even when I sit inside. In 2020, I shifted to Hosur (poorly-designed-speadbreaker-capital-of-the-world) and I have felt that the car is bottoming out on many of the horrendous speed breakers. Till now, I have had one of the plastic cladding in the front wheel wells shredded due to my tires hitting the bumper and dislodging it from the grooves.
You should be looking for broken coil springs and leaking shock absorbers. Shock absorbers shoul always be replaced in pairs on the same axle. No need to overhaul and replace all the components. Just replace the broken and worn parts.
I replaced all 4 ball joints, tie rod ends and 4 shock absorbers 7 years ago and 100,000km ago. They are still good. Last year I replaced both tie rods and ends when the inner ball showed som play.
In your case it will the left side that will wear out first. This because you drive on the left side. Roard are more uneven on the edge. In my case the right side wears first.
Rubber bushes dont wear out so early.
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Old 2nd May 2021, 07:10   #6
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Default Re: How do you know when its time to overhaul the suspension?

I know many people who cover 1 lakh km and over on their stock suspension. And some well-built cars using high quality components will very well do it. BUT IMHO, after 50000 km (or 60000 km tops) on Indian roads, any OEM suspension is past its prime. Those who retain their original suspension beyond this are missing out.

The handling will start to become sloppy, the ride quality will be inconsistent (also too soft or too firm in some cars) and the car won't be as planted as it was (some feel "bouncy" - especially Japanese cars). In particular, the damping quality becomes compromised as does high speed handling. Because I am extremely particular about how my cars behave on the road, I get some suspension work done at or about the 50000 - 60000 km mark in most of my cars, whether major or minor.

Just to give some examples, my Honda City's behaviour was all over the place at high speed (70,000 km). C220 was better, but I'd still gotten the dampers changed at 50,000 km IIRC. The 530d has covered 46,000 km and I can feel the front getting a bit loose in high speed cornering / road dips. Will have the suspension checked at the next scheduled service.

Last edited by GTO : 2nd May 2021 at 09:13.
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Old 2nd May 2021, 08:04   #7
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Default Re: How do you know when its time to overhaul the suspension?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
I know many people who cover 1 lakh km and over on their stock suspension. And some well-built cars using high quality components will very well do it.
All suspension parts were replaced with Lemförder components. Shocks were Sachs Heavy Duty touring shocks. I only use OEM or from the makers of the OEM parts. Lemförder makes the OEM parts for VW.
Chinese "best quality" parts are not allowed anywhere near my car.

The rear coil springs were replaced with springs from Lesjöfors the OEM supplier to Koenigsegg and Lamborghini. These are produced in Sweden.
In my case
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Old 2nd May 2021, 09:13   #8
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Default Re: How do you know when its time to overhaul the suspension?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasjotbains View Post
...

Can someone suggest what all signs I need to look our for my suspension assembly/shock absorbers/rubber mounts having given up on me? And whether 8 years is a good enough and acceptable time for the rubber mounts to become bad? I dont mind spending Rs 10-15k on the suspension assembly if it means my car is good to go for another 6 years without bothering my pocket much.
I have a couple of experiences.
Alto K10 (40k kms 2014 model) - each time I take it to the A S S, I ask them about the suspension and shocks. They do a cursory push test for the shocks and declare them fine. There was an annoying squeak whenever the car moved, and since my wife insisted it be rectified, all the top mechanics set out to find and fix this "minor" problem - finally they put in an inspection station and shook the bejeezus out of it, while one of the mechanics was under the car looking for the squeak - he finally found a leaking shock absorber that was scraping against itself causing the squeak! So much for the push test!

In my Astar (75k, 2011), I had to insist that they replace the engine and AT mounts. I had them swap out the old bushes for many suspension parts, and I still don't know if they replaced them all. I also had them torque all the bolts to spec - supposedly a routine maintenance item, but seeing them tighten the bolts told me this had never been done in any scheduled maintenance service.

Go by the maintenance schedule and get them replaced if that is what is mandated by the manufacturer. The A S S don't like replacing bushes that cost next to nothing, but they can really change the feel of the car (and handling). In my case, I have to be extra careful about the AT misbehaving with broken mounts. This can also happen with MT which would show up as hard to shift gearbox.

Suggest you consider the tyres as part of the suspension.

Last edited by mvadg : 2nd May 2021 at 09:23.
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Old 2nd May 2021, 16:39   #9
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Default Re: How do you know when its time to overhaul the suspension?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasjotbains View Post
Can someone suggest what all signs I need to look our for my suspension assembly/shock absorbers/rubber mounts having given up on me?
The signs you mention indicate towards suspension needing work. From my experience with the duster

Signs of worn out suspension components:

Strut mounting bushes
  • mild rattling on bumpy road,
  • excessive jolt sound on jounce (extension),
  • visible separation of top bush when viewed from the engine bay, also,
  • squeaky/squishy sounds mean dried out bushes.
  • The worn out bushes amplify the jolts throughout the body shell (increased NVH).
  • Another guess - mild front to back rocking when coming to dead stop (like at traffic lights / stop-go traffic) is also associated to worn bushes in a way
.

Shock Absorbers -
  • bottoming out,
  • car feeling sprung only on springs (reduced dampening felt on bumpy roads / floating feeling on the small and repeated closely spaced speed bumps),
  • oil leaks from shocks,

Control Arm Bushes
  • wheel alignment not holding
  • Rattles and squeaks
  • Pulling to one side
  • Tyre wear even after alignment
  • Play in the joints

Sway Bar & Link rods
  • Rattles on rough road
  • Increased body roll
  • Play in the joints

Steering rack ends
  • Rattles when taking turn
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Old 2nd May 2021, 21:20   #10
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Default Re: How do you know when its time to overhaul the suspension?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasjotbains View Post
I somehow have a theory that the suspension, especially the shock absorbers, have given up on me now.
Since you've had one shock absorber changed (I'm not sure whether you changed just the damper or the entire strut with springs), it might be a good idea to preemptively change all the 4 dampers for a start. While doing that, your mechanic will also be able to replace the rubber kit associated with the springs, as well as check on the ball joints, tie rod ends etc. when replacing the dampers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasjotbains View Post
Can someone suggest what all signs I need to look our for my suspension assembly/shock absorbers/rubber mounts having given up on me?
So you have plenty of suggestions, and I don't need to pitch in with more, but replacing the hydraulic dampers and associated rubber kit make for a world of difference in ride comfort in an 8-y-o car. And the tyres too, especially if they are more than 5-6 years old (sidewall flexibility is lost to some extent).
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Old 4th May 2021, 09:14   #11
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Default Re: How do you know when its time to overhaul the suspension?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tgo View Post
From my experience with the duster

Signs of worn out suspension components:

Strut mounting bushes
  • squeaky/squishy sounds mean dried out bushes.
Thanks for the FAQ list as most of the concerns with its aftermath are mentioned here.

Coming to my Terrano, I could feel a squeaky sound when I slowly go over a large speed breaker (usually a taller one) recently.

It's a 2015 model with 80k odo without any suspension works done yet. I want to be specific when I goto svc or an FNG so that they won't over-charge me.
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Old 4th May 2021, 10:27   #12
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Default Re: How do you know when its time to overhaul the suspension?

I changed the shock absorbers on my accord after 1 lac km pot which it had started feeling bumpy.
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Old 4th May 2021, 11:58   #13
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Default Re: How do you know when its time to overhaul the suspension?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasjotbains View Post
Hello


Can someone suggest what all signs I need to look our for my suspension assembly/shock absorbers/rubber mounts having given up on me?
Easiest (and laziest way) - ask your car service engineer to take a look and advice, when you give it for regular service! . This will work only if you have a trusted service advisor

You may need to be a little cautious with authorized service outlets - as they many times tend to give premature/needless replacement suggestions as it increases their commission.

My previous car, Alto LXI, the original suspension lasted pretty long - I replaced it only around 1.05L km.. I used to service it @ every 5k Km and past 70km, I used to ask the SA whether anything needed replacement. The SA was a gem of a person and he never gave unwanted/needless replacement suggestions. Even when I replaced it eventually at 1.05L km, he was of the opinion that it can still run for another 5k km or so.

But mine may be a bit outlier case - Some other friends who had bought an alto almost on the same time as me, got their suspensions overhauled/changed at around 60K Km or so.
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Old 4th May 2021, 12:19   #14
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Default Re: How do you know when its time to overhaul the suspension?

Suspensions on mass market cars are done for at anything between 30-50k km normally, depending on how rough the usage is. Given our shabby urban infrastructure, they do give out pretty soon.

Do note that it does not have to be this way. This is in large part due to to shoddy quality of shockers and rubber parts our car manufacturers use. My Gen 4 City with its dabba quality, for example, cries for a new suspensions after every 30-40000 km. My Gen1 Jazz, which is a Thai CKD and hence has much better quality, the original suspensions lasted over 1lakh km. The replacement, although genuine from the showroom, was the useless Indian spec and again lasted the same as the City. The comfort and bump absorption of the original suspensions was never there

My Hexa is another well built car with good quality components. Car has done 98000km and the stock suspensions are as good as new. No rattles, no squeaks, no loss of damping or comfort. Same is the case with the Fortuner in the extended family. Lasts really really long before you feel it needs a change.

Last edited by Aditya : 8th May 2021 at 22:56. Reason: Typo
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Old 4th May 2021, 12:50   #15
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Default Re: How do you know when its time to overhaul the suspension?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shreyans_Jain;5056774
Do note that it does not have to be this way. This is in large part due to to shoddy quality of shockers and rubber parts our car manufacturers use. My Gen 4 City with its [I
dabba[/i] quality, for example, cries for a new suspensions after every 30-40000 km. My Gen1 Jazz, which is a Thai CKD and hence has much better quality, the original suspensions lasted over 1lakh km. The replacement, although genuine from the showroom, was the useless Indian spec and again lasted the same as the City. The comfort and bump absorption of the original suspensions was never there
Next time try Monroe shock absorbers. They are better than OEM for Honda and Hyundai. Better quality and last longer
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