What is more important when driving – handling or comfort? This answer varies depending on if you ask a speed demon or a soccer mom. When creating a vehicle, manufacturers must consider both factors as they make the suspension. For those who aren't car enthusiasts, below are some common terms relating to suspensions.
Suspension – A mechanical system for automobiles that serves to improve handling and braking while decreasing the amount of bumps and vibrations felt by occupants. One system is present on all vehicles, from motorcycles to trucks. Within a suspension, you will find shock absorbers, springs, and links from the undercarriage to the wheels. You will find both front and rear systems.
Coilover – Short for “coil spring over strut,” this refers to a type of suspension featuring a shock absorber with a coil spring around it. Once only used by professional racers, this is now common in multiple automobile models.
Strut – A part of a car designed to make the upper arm suspension obsolete. It confines the duty of a shock absorber with support for loads not along the axis of compression, causing it to have an increased rugged design and mounting points in its center.
Damping – The intentional control of motion by a shock absorber. It helps to keep both the vehicle’s speed and suspension’s resistance under grips. Damping is decreased or increased by changing the resistance in the shock absorber to fluid flow. While driving, damping is at a constant compromise because the amount needed for a comfortable ride is different than how much you need for superior handling.
Shock Absorber – Part of an automobile’s undercarriage that is designed to absorb energy. In most models, the energy is dissipated by converting it into heat within the viscous fluid. This device consists of cushions and springs.