Suspension damage – beyond the aligner


Suspension damage is almost inevitable these days. Compensation claims for vehicle damage or personal injury caused by poorly-maintained roads are rising at 20% annually and the “industry” is worth some £2.8 billion per year. At the current rates of progress, the carriageway repair backlog will take an estimated 12-14 years to clear.  

With this in mind there’s every reason to assume that even the smallest workshop will see cars with suspension damage through their doors. Cars and light vans are becoming ever more complex with multi-link suspensions now the norm. This means that traditional “tracking gauges” and even “laser alignment” systems are no longer up to the job and investment in a modern four-wheel aligner will yield strong profits. 

As always, the first line of inspection isn’t technological but relies on the experience of the technician: 

  • Does the vehicle stand level? 
  • Does the ride height look right? 
  • Is there any visual component damage? 

Repair the obvious damage and then a full vehicle alignment check shows any further problems. Cross-axle variances highlight potential component damage which should be investigated before the job is signed off. Pay particular attention to the steering axis inclination, as even with “straight” wheels a bent arm or strut can cause the SAI to be out of range. 

Replace or repair?

In days gone by it may have been possible to straighten or “repair” suspension components. These days with the advent of lighter aluminium parts the only option is replacement. Many “old school” mechanics rue the passing of such skills. The reality is that materials used will crack and break instead of bending, and applied heat from welding can ruin its temper with potentially disastrous consequences. 

Undertake another full alignment check once all the faulty components have been replaced to ensure all figures are within tolerance. Finally, carry out a scan for ADAS sensors and re-calibrate where necessary.  

There’s a lot more to suspension damage repair than in the days of cart springs and Armstrong dampers. Absolute Alignment offers cost-effective wheel alignment solutions for workshops of all sizes. Call 01252 549340 to talk to the Technical Team and let The Experts guide you through. 

2 Post lift alignment from Absolute Alignment

We hope you found this look at suspension damage an interesting read. Wheel alignment is a growing market. To learn about how important wheel alignment can be check out our consumer site