5 Things On Your Trucks Suspension That Will Need To Be Fixed And How To Know When To Fix It

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Having a truck means having freedom. You can go just about anywhere. There is no place off limits to you. You want to brave the 11.3 mile and 12,800 feet high Red Cone mountain pass in Montezuma, Colorado? No problem. Then you can race your friends the 74 miles to Mile High Stadium to catch a Broncos game. However, if you don’t learn how to listen to your truck you could find yourself high up on a mountain pass looking at a bent shock shaft and nowhere to go. That is why it is important to know when to replace parts of your suspension on your truck. A quick way to know if you are developing a problem in your suspension is if you start to notice a vibration above a certain speed. That usually points in the direction of an issue with the wheels, drive line or suspension.

We are going to give you a few pointers on how to know if parts of your suspension need to be changed out.

Shocks absorbers “dampers”

When to Change and Warning Signs
It is advised to change them out every 50,000 miles. However, it can vary depending on the vehicle and how and where you drive. Obviously if you are strictly a back and home highway driver, your shocks aren’t going to wear out as fast as someone who is towing heavy equipment over rough roads every week. They may need to replace them sooner than 50,000 miles.

A good sign it’s time to replace your shock absorbers is if your truck keeps bouncing well after you went over a speed bump, railroad tracks, dips in the road or bottoms out. If you also hear noises over bumps, notice excessive body lean in turns or find that the front end of your truck dives sharply in hard braking your shock absorbers need to be replaced. You may not notice this until someone else rides with you because much like when brake pads fail this happens gradually, and the driver gets used to the bouncier ride.

Leaf Springs

When To Change and Warning Signs
It’s not always easy to know if it’s time to replace your leaf springs. Obviously if the rear of your truck is in a constant sagging position (lower in the rear) it’s time to replace the leaf springs. However, there are some less apparent indications that your truck needs new leaf springs. For example, a leveled truck that has not had a leveling kit installed. This is because most pickup trucks are slightly raised in the rear 1.5 to about 2.5 inches. This gives the truck a nose down affect. Manufacturers purposely do this so that when trucks are hauling weight in the bed the lights are not blinding on-coming traffic. If you find that your truck is sitting level with no load, this may indicate that you springs are worn.

Other symptoms that your leaf springs are bad is if you see an individual leaf sticking out of the pack, or if you notice noise, lean or an axle is not centered.

Bushings

When To Change and Warning Signs
When you start hearing noises coming from your suspension you can bet your bottom dollar it is probably a blown bushing. They typically also contribute to rattles, handling issues, unwanted axle movement, and wandering. Greasing old bushings will keep them quiet, but they will still need to be replaced.

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Upper Bearing Plate

When To Change and Warning Signs
If your upper bearing plate is damaged, then the strut may need also to be replaced. If you notice that the plate is loose, rusted, noisy, damaged, binding, or worn, then it has to be replaced. Symptoms can include:

Steering noise – popping, snapping, groaning or creaking with turning
Suspension noise – popping, clunking, or rattling on rough roads
Steer snap back after turning – this is caused by a frozen upper strut bearing assembly and a spring wind up
Memory steer or poor steering return – this is where the car refuses to go straight after turning. This is due to the binding in the upper mount.

Do not reuse the upper bearing plate with a set of new struts. Install new plates or use a preassembled strut that comes with a plate bearing.

Inflation of Tires

When To Change and Warning Signs
One of the easiest things to fix and one of the most overlooked items are tires. Over or under inflated tires will have premature wear and will cause a bad ride. Overinflate and you will get a rough ride, underinflate, and you will get sloppy handling. Always check your tires each time you fill up for gas. Just because your tire says max load 65 psi, does not mean that you should load the tire up to 65 psi. Typically the proper inflation will be much less. Do the chalk test to find out what the proper psi is for your truck. Don’t know what the chalk test is? Well, here you go.

Chalk Test

  • Find a flat road surface like asphalt or concrete.
  • Make a mark with chalk all the way across your tread.
  • Gradually drive your truck forward 50 feet and backward 50 feet.
  • Look at the chalk on the tire.
  • If the chalk has only worn off on the center of the tire reduce the tire pressure slightly and redo the entire process.
  • With the reduction of tire pressure, you should see the chalk wear more broadly.
  • Continue to make tiny adjustments in your tire pressure until the chalk wears off evenly all the way across your tread.
  • Complete this process for all four tires.
  • Then add an additional 10% more air to all four tires.
  • You will need to then measure the tires and add more pressure in order to balance them.
  • Start with balancing the front tires against each other, then the rear and then balance the front against the rear.
  • Eventually you will end up with the perfect tire pressure but it is time-consuming and there is always a chance you’ll make a mistake.

As a truck owner, it is important to know how your truck operates. Even just knowing the basics can save you thousands when it comes to dealing with a mechanic. So, hopefully, these few tips can help you enjoy your truck and little more at we get into the winter season.

If you are in need of any replacement suspension parts, http://sdtrucksprings.com is a fantastic resource for Leaf Springs, Air Bags, and much much more, as they have been selling them for over 4 decades and consistently publish advice about said parts. Feel free to click the link above, or call 1(877) 774-6473 to speak to someone directly.