At AM PM Diesel Services, we know a thing or two about the rigors of the road and how they can take a toll on your heavy-duty truck. A vital component that often bears the brunt of these challenges is your truck’s heavy-duty suspension. Whether it's the ol’ reliable leaf spring suspension or the adaptable air ride suspension, keeping them in top shape is crucial for your truck's performance and your safety.
In this blog, we'll delve into seven common indicators of truck suspension problems, helping you to stay ahead of the game when it comes to fleet maintenance and repair.
Truck Suspensions: What You Need to Know
Before we dive into the signs of trouble, let's get a quick refresher on the two main types of truck suspensions we're focusing on. Leaf spring suspensions, one of the oldest and most trusted systems, consist of layers of arched steel that flex under pressure. They're rugged, straightforward, and often found in vocational applications due to their robust characteristics and ease of replacement.
Air ride suspensions, on the other hand, use air-filled bags to provide a smooth ride and adapt to various loads and road conditions, which is great for over-the-road hauling. Each type has its unique strengths, making them popular choices in the world of heavy-duty truck suspensions.
Indicator 1: Uneven Tire Wear
One of the earliest red flags of suspension trouble is uneven tire wear. It's a telltale sign that your truck's suspension is not holding the vehicle evenly, causing more pressure on one tire than the others. This issue can manifest differently in leaf spring and air ride suspensions due to their distinct mechanisms, but the result is the same — a visit to the truck suspension shop for a comprehensive inspection of your tractor.
Indicator 2: Tractor Drifting or Pulling During Turns
If you find your truck veering to one side or the other during turns, it's time to raise an eyebrow. This drifting or pulling sensation often points to a suspension imbalance. In leaf spring suspensions, this might be due to worn-out springs, while in air suspensions, it could be air leaks or pump problems. Either way, it's a sign your heavy-duty truck suspension needs some attention.
Indicator 3: Bumpy or Rough Rides
One of the primary roles of a truck suspension is to absorb bumps and provide a smooth ride. When you start feeling every pebble on the road, it's a clear sign that something's amiss. With leaf spring suspensions, this might mean the springs are damaged or have lost their flexibility. Air ride suspensions might be struggling with airbag or compressor issues. This discomfort isn't just a nuisance; it could indicate significant truck suspension problems.
Indicator 4: Visual Signs of Damage or Wear
Sometimes, the signs are right before your eyes. Physical damage, such as bent or broken springs in a leaf spring suspension, damaged spring hangers and bolts, or visible tears and leaks in air ride suspension bags, are clear indicators of trouble. Regular visual inspections, aside from your annual DOT inspection, can help catch these issues early before they escalate into bigger truck suspension repair jobs.
Indicator 5: Vehicle Sits Lower
If your truck seems to be sagging or sitting lower than usual, it's not just an aesthetic issue. It suggests that your suspension isn't holding up the truck's weight as it should. In leaf spring suspensions, this could be due to broken springs, while in air ride systems, it might be air leaks or failing compressors.
Indicator 6: Leaking Air
For air ride suspensions, air leaks are a common problem. You might hear hissing sounds or notice that the air compressor runs more than usual. Leaf spring suspensions don't deal with air, but they might show signs of wear in other ways, such as rust or cracks. Either scenario warrants a trip to a professional for heavy-duty truck suspension repair.
Indicator 7: Difficulty in Steering
Last but not least, if steering your truck feels harder than usual or the vehicle doesn't respond promptly, the suspension could be to blame. A failing suspension can affect the truck's balance and alignment, leading to steering challenges. Whether it's leaf spring or air suspension, difficulty in steering is a serious safety concern and should be addressed immediately via truck and trailer wheel alignment.
Recognizing these seven indicators can be crucial in maintaining the health of your truck's suspension system. Regular professional PM checks, which should include inspections, can help you avoid the pitfalls of truck suspension problems. At AM PM Diesel Services, we're equipped to handle all your heavy-duty truck suspension repair needs, ensuring your rides are smooth, safe, and secure.
Experiencing any of these suspension issues? Don’t let suspension problems slow you down. Contact AM PM Diesel Services today for expert truck suspension repair services. Whether it's a rugged leaf spring suspension or a sophisticated air ride suspension, our team of skilled technicians is ready to bring your heavy-duty truck suspension back to its optimal condition. Call us now and ensure your truck suspension is in the best hands!