How do you know if your suspension is damaged?

Suspension Springs being worked on

Why is my car suspension squeaking?

Owning a vehicle requires attention to the car suspension maintenance and upkeep if you intend for it to last a long time. When that vehicle is an expensive class car like a BMW, that attention to maintenance and upkeep is more intense. There is no other car on the road that has that well known BMW suspension. The BMW car suspension check and the upkeep of the car suspension basics are a must maintain that unique BMW suspension.

The BMW suspension is nothing like any other car you’ve ever driven, and when it is squeaky, it should be a concern and frustrating. For the cost of these luxury cars, you shouldn’t hear creaks and squeaks when you go over a speed bump or around a corner. 

A squeaking BMW suspension can indicate a broken suspension system. This can lead to difficulty in steering the car and keeping it on the road and making roll over more apt to happen in certain situations. 

The setup of a BMW suspension consists of the following components:

  • Coil springs
  • Leaf springs
  • Torsion bars
  • Shock absorbers or struts
  • Anti-roll bar or sway bar
  • Control arms
  • Steering linkage
  • Tie rods and/or track bars

Each of these components can be the source of any squeaking noise coming from the suspension. The three common joints commonly used in BMW suspension are:

  • Ball Joints – these are needed for the joint to rotate or move up and down. There is a stainless-steel ball that fits inside a Teflon cup to provide that range of motion and stay rigid. There are grease fittings and a rubber boot that holds grease. That fitting and grease need to be checked by an authorized mechanic. Sometimes, the boot rips and the grease leak out, causing the joints to squeak as you turn.
  • Bushings – are needed to keep the joint moving in one direction, such as side to side or up and down. These are the most common joints in a BMW suspension system and frequent cause of a squeaky suspension. They are basically like a rubber sleeve that fits between the frame and the suspension component, allowing rotation of the suspension component. When these bushings get torn or dry out, they begin to squeak.
  • Rubber Mounts – These are the joints that are required for small motion needs like on the engine or transmission mounts, usually found on the lower control arm’s rear side of lower control arms.  

What causes bad suspension?

The symptoms are apparent, but it is a challenge to determine the problem for a car with suspension issues, and for a BMW, the suspension is one of the things that people buy them. Ignoring issues with the suspension can only lead to bigger problems, like wearing the tires out too soon, possible danger driving condition, and more. It is important to pay attention to how your car is handling and listen for any noises that aren’t normal.

Even if you have the slightest fender-bender, that can create a domino effect for your car’s health and soundness. While any problem with a BMW suspension may not be immediately apparent, it should be checked out by an authorized technician.

Some common symptoms of possible BMW suspension, or any vehicle, problems are:

1. Pulling to One Side

This can be caused by an underinflated tire, and, fortunately, it can be fixed simply by having the air pressure checked in all the tires. However, it can also indicate BMW suspension problems, and they are not always easily diagnosed.  A professional technician with experience in BMW can determine the problem, which could be your car needs an alignment. There are other possible reasons your car could be pulling to one side:

  • Uneven tire wear
  • Bad tie rods
  • Bad steering rack
  • Brake caliper sticking

2. You feel every bump no matter how small

When your car is riding rough, it most likely is the shocks or struts needing replacing. If you hit a bump of any size and your car keeps bouncing down the road, that could be the suspension and the sooner you can get that checked out and repaired, the better.

If your shock absorbers or struts are worn out, they can’t absorb the shock of driving over bumps. If the lead springs are weak, that too will allow your car to bounce.  Any accident that involves the front of your BMW, suspension can be damaged affecting these parts.

3. Sitting low to one side

A car that is sitting on a level spot and has one corner lower than the rest could indicate spring is broke or damaged. If you notice a clunk as you go over a bump on that side, turning corners to that side could be compromised because the weight of the car is leaning on a damaged spring. Shocks or struts and springs have a special relationship, they depend on each other to keep A BMW suspension handling and steering correctly.

4. Leaning back, nosedive, or roll

When you apply the brakes and your car takes a nosedive, or when you turn a corner and your car “rolls” with the turn or leans back into a squat when you take off, the shocks or struts need replacing. BMW suspension is designed for extreme handling, and if it is doing any of the things mentioned here, make an appointment with your authorized service garage immediately.

5. Hard to steer the car

 If you are finding it hard to steer your car, especially when driving slowly, or the steering feels as if it is slipping as you turn a corner, it needs to be checked out soon. There are several components in the power steering system that could be the problem:

  • Power steering fluid
  • Steering belt is loose or worn
  • Steering pump is going out
  • Power steering rack is leaking fluid
  • Control arm bushings are worn

What happens if your car suspension is bad?

Worst case scenario – you’ll wreck. Here, we have a list of the possible problems when a BMW suspension is bad and what can happen if not taken care of.

  • Flat tire: The tires on your car are included in the suspension and driving with a flat can ruin the tire, damage the wheel, and is dangerous and hard to steer.
  • Broken wheel: A broken wheel isn’t always noticeable until it completely fails, meaning you can’t drive the ar. However, wheels can be bent or cracked and still drivable, but at any time, the wheel could totally break. If you’re going down the road when that happens, the results could be catastrophic.
  • Broken or weak shock absorbers: When the shocks on a car are broken or weak, your car will bounce, dive, roll, and squat excessively, making the ride difficult, hard to handle, and uncomfortable.
  • Springs: Broken springs on a BMW suspension doesn’t mean you can’t drive the car, but it won’t be that gliding, smooth ride that you paid for when you bought the BMW. When the springs are broken, that is putting the weight of the car more on the tires, and that will wear them out quickly.
  • Struts: Struts are a type of shock absorber and partially carry the vehicle’s weight. When they are broken, the same results of a broken shock absorber or spring is experienced.
  • Steering linkage: If the steering linkage is broken – Do not drive the car under any circumstances. The car cannot be trusted to turn corners or steer straight going down the road.
  • Sway bar: A sway bar is an important part of a BMW suspension, but it doesn’t render the car undrivable. You should take corners slowly as it does help with cornering.
  • Power steering: An important part of a BMW suspension includes the power steering, as with any car. Power steering can be electric or hydraulic, but when it fails, it is difficult, if not impossible to steer the vehicle. It is dangerous to drive the vehicle in this condition, but if you must, drive extremely slowly.

Can you drive a car with bad suspension?

The immediate answer is no. Depending on what part of the suspension is broken or damaged though, it can be if in an emergency. The driving will be difficult, and the ride will be rough. While you can drive it some, it isn’t recommended and should be taken to an authorized, experienced garage as soon as possible.

Car with good suspension

How long does a car suspension last?

Today, some say cars aren’t built like they used to be and they don’t last as long. However, if you maintain the vehicle, A BMW suspension, including the struts, springs, steering, and other components, are engineered to last 10 years or longer. The roadways are not always ideal circumstances, and it always depends on the individual driver’s habits and driving style how long a car will last. 

Cars that are built for or converted to roadway racing will have upgrades to better suspension along with a bigger, powerful engine and more. The lifespan of those will be shortened because they go through more stress than the average daily driver.

Your car is an important investment, for most of us, we depend on our cars daily. It is up to the owner of a vehicle to take care of it from the interior to under the hood, and under the car itself where the suspension, tires, and more are located. Take care of your BMW suspension, and it will take care of you. For your suspension repair needs in Dallas, TX, dial 469-471-6433 for quality service from Bimmer Repair.