Your work truck is your business, and keeping it in top shape should be high on your list of priorities. Whether it’s a single vehicle or entire fleet, wear and tear on your vehicles’ components can end up causing heavy damage and make driving unsafe – even for others on the road.
One of these systems that plays a major role in your commercial vehicle’s functionality is its suspension. Bad shocks, worn struts, shot steel springs, and a number of other components can affect your ability to control your work truck, as well as how it stops and turns.
Whether it’s a traditional or air suspension system, maintaining your vehicle and taking a proactive approach can help prevent expensive problems – or a serious crash – down the road. Your upfitting and commercial vehicle maintenance team here at Camco Wheel & Axle have the expertise, skill, and parts to get your heavy-duty truck working like new.
If you’re unfamiliar with the signs of a bad or failing suspension, please consider the following information and give us a call at 956-781-4800 today to get your commercial vehicle the maintenance it deserves.
What to Keep an Eye Out For
Whether your work truck uses a traditional or “air ride” suspension system, there are a number of signs that you should NOT ignore. Allowing them to continue on for too long can end up putting a big dent in your wallet.
For traditional suspension systems keep an eye out for:
- The front or back of your vehicle sags. A major tell-tale sign of a failing suspension system is a sagging back end or front end.
- Grinding sounds while turning. While a grinding sound can be the result of a number of things, a broken suspension system could be the culprit.
- Tire “cupping”. This occurs when a failing suspension causes your vehicle’s tires to come down harder on the road while traveling. It essentially causes the tires to scuff leading to inconsistent wear on the tread. Take a look at your tires, and if you notice strange markings then it just might be a sign that you need new suspension.
- The road feels tougher. The vehicle’s suspension system is designed to keep your vehicle stable and rides smoother. If you feel more bumps and a generally rougher ride, it’s probably time to change out your suspension.
- Dipping motion when you stop. Pay attention as you make stops. If you notice your vehicle moving downward when you apply the brakes, then this could be an indication that your shocks are going bad.
- Fluid on the shocks or struts. Is there fluid on these components under the truck’s body? Fluid could be leaking because of an aging suspension system.
- Hitting a mileage replacement recommendation. Wear and tear happens on any vehicle component, and you might have just hit a mileage replacement recommendation. Have the right maintenance team take a look at your suspension for you.
If your truck utilizes air suspensions, there are some additional items that you should look out for:
- Truck or trailer riding high or too low. When air pressure is off in an air suspension system, then you might find your truck or trailer riding too high or low.
- Keep an eye out for leaks. Because these types of systems use air bags and air springs, you need to look out for leaks in the system caused by abrasions from grime, debris, or rust.
- Air valves look damaged. Air valves can clog or sustain damage during a trip. Make sure to inspect them if you feel like you are having issues with your suspension.
It’s vital that you have a maintenance and inspection plan in place for your vehicle(s). Frequent checkups can keep your vehicle or fleet in safe, working conditions.
Replacement and Care Tips
Should your commercial vehicle require a new suspension system, then there are a few recommendations that you will want to take into consideration:
- Shocks need to be replaced in pairs.
- If you are going to replace one component, it generally makes sense to replace all related components. One worn part usually means a generally worn system.
- Check your suspension after an installation to make sure everything has been finely tuned and not one component is handling excessive force.
As your field team moves from project to project, it’s important that they follow a few maintenance tips to keep your system in great shape for as long as possible. Have them:
- Never overload a truck beyond its capacity. This can cause damage to the suspension system, tires, and other components of the truck. Plus, it can lead to a dangerous situation for other drivers on the road.
- If your team is traveling on very bumpy roads, off-road, or moving off a curb, make sure they are moving slowly. Driving too quickly during any of these situations can lead to a broken spring.