Check Your Suspension During Potholes Season

Potholes on the road are most common in the spring. When the temperature drops below freezing and then quickly rises above freezing, potholes are created. These little obstacles can cause your car serious problems.

Pay attention to how your car responds to potholes to see if part of its suspension system needs to be repaired or replaced.

Potholes and Your Suspension

If you run over potholes repeatedly, especially at high speeds, your car’s suspension will wear and tear faster. The impact of your tires hitting a pothole rocks the entire suspension system, including the shocks and struts.

The best way to protect your suspension is to avoid driving over potholes completely. If you can’t avoid a pothole on the road, reduce your speed so you don’t hit it with as much force.

Signs Your Suspension Is Off

When driving, pay close attention to how your car suspension feels and sounds, especially when it passes over potholes and other bumps. Common symptoms of a bad suspension include:

  • shaky steering wheel
  • uncomfortable ride
  • bouncing after a bump
  • clunking sounds

If you only hear strange noises when riding over bumps, that might mean a problem with the sway bar or sway bar links. If the suspension noise only occurs in the front passenger side, there might be a problem with that corner of the suspension, like the control arm bushing, ball joint, or wheel bearing.

If the steering wheel vibrates after hitting a bump, you may have a worn steering damper or front shock absorbers. A clunking feeling in the steering when braking may mean a problem with tie rod ends or ball joints. You can find a more detailed ball joint and wheel bearing assessment here.

Suspension Assessment

Once you’ve identified the general location of the suspension noise, you can get more specific with your assessment. With the vehicle sitting on the ground or on ramps, wiggle the wheels left-right, up-down, and diagonally. Feel for any loose components. Wiggle the steering wheel left and right, feeling around ball joints and tie rod ends. While bouncing the vehicle, feel around strut mounts and shock absorber mounts.

With the vehicle lifted on a jack and jack stands, repeat the wiggle test. Unloaded, the ball joints and bushings may react differently, revealing their weakness. Wiggling the sway bar might reveal problems with the links or bushings.

Finally, use a flashlight to examine moving components. Leaking grease, cracked boots, split bushings, and leaking shock absorbers are all things to watch out for. It’s easier to do this with a partner and/or a mechanic’s stethoscope.

NAPA Car Ramps

140.99 $ 83.99 $

Shop Now

Evercraft Jack & Stands Combo 2T

101.99 $ 74.99 $

Shop Now

Solving Suspension Problems

If your suspension is suffering because your wheels are out of line, it’s time for an alignment. Follow this guide to do your own wheel alignment.

For replacement parts, browse through a wide range of steering and suspension products at If you need help to repair your suspension or any other part of your vehicle, stop by a NAPA AUTOPRO Service Centre.

Suspension Care Tips

Other than avoiding potholes, follow these tips to further maintain your car’s suspension system:

For more information on diagnosing and fixing car suspension noises, speak with an expert at your local NAPA Auto Parts store.

Slime 20475 Tire Pressure Gauge, Elite Digital Gauge, 5-150 Psi

26.49 $ 20.99 $

Buy Now

NAPA Tire Tread Depth Gauge

13.09 $ 9.99 $

Buy Now

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.Required fields are marked *