Need a Brakes, Steering and Suspension Inspection?
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Brakes, Steering and Suspension Inspection
Why should I get a brake, steering and suspension inspection?
If you drive your vehicle every day, you may not notice that components have slowly deteriorated and could even be dangerous because you have adapted to how the car handles.
It’s a good idea to have your brakes, steering and suspension checked every couple of years – unless something makes you concerned that it should be checked sooner.
A technician will test drive your vehicle and carry out an under-car check to make sure the brakes, steering and suspension are up to scratch.
The cost to get an under-car check, which includes brakes, steering and suspension, will range from around $28 to $180 pending on who you go to and how thorough the inspection is.
How do the brakes, steering and suspension work?
The brakes, steering and suspension work together in enabling control of a vehicle, but let's break down each section into their own individual responsibilities:
They work through a system where the driver applies pressure to the brake pedal, an action that pushes a piston inside the brake master cylinder that is filled with hydraulic fluid.
The hydraulic fluid runs through tubes into brake calipers.
The hydraulic pressure forces the brake pads against the brake rotor (or disc) or forces the brake shoes against the drum (for drum
This action causes friction, slowing or stopping the vehicle.
Works through a series of pivot points between the steering wheel and the wheels.
When the steering wheel turns, it goes through a rack and pinion or box system which transfers the direction of movement to rods and arms
that guide the wheels in the desired direction.
A majority of vehicles on the road have power steering.
This system pumps fluid into the rack and pinion or steering box which assists the driver in reducing the required steering force.
Supports the frame of the vehicle and is comprised of components which absorb shock and weight whilst keeping the tyres on the road, allowing the
driver to control the car.
This is done through shock absorbers (dampers), springs, struts and anti-sway bars.
A spring on its own will continue to bounce, so a shock absorber or strut is used to dampen spring motion, vibration and transfer the heat through hydraulic fluid.
Anti-roll bars are a strong metal rod that bridges one side of the suspension to the other, running the length of the axle, to prevent body roll on cornering.
Common reasons for the brakes steering and suspension not to work
- Loss of brake fluid and worn brakes
- Power steering system failure and leakage
- Worn, damaged or faulty shock absorbers or struts
How is the brakes, steering and suspension inspection performed?
If you book in an inspection with a brake, steering and suspension specialist, the technician may drive your car onto a piece of equipment that simulates various on-road driving conditions.
This simulator will provide a report on the brakes, steering and suspension performance.
They will also do a thorough under-car inspection looking for signs of deterioration.
A brake test will be performed, as well as an inspection of brake components and brake pad wear.
You will usually be given an indication of what percentage of brake pad remains, and estimated kms when they likely will need to be replaced.
If you have drum brakes on the rear, they may check the brake shoes.
They should also inspect your brake fluid levels.
The power steering system and hoses will be scanned for faults or leaks.
A check of the rack and pinion or steering box, and a check that tie rod ends are greased and haven’t deteriorated will also be done.
They’ll look for any steering obstructions, ensuring there is free movement and no play in the steering.
The wheel bearings, tyre wear and pressure will be checked; springs, shock absorbers and struts inspected for damage or leaks; arms, bushes, bars,
linkages will also be checked, as will the CV joints.
How important is a brake, steering and suspension inspection?
On their own, each component is unique and important to the performance of your vehicle - you couldn’t drive without brakes, steering and suspension.
This is why they all need to be inspected regularly.
If you couldn’t steer and brake or you happen to hit a pothole without any suspension, you’re going to notice it, and it might feel like you’re driving Fred Flintstone’s car . . . Wilma would not be happy about that!