What Do You Know About Your Vehicle’s Suspension?

We all know about oil changes, filters and even a little bit about the gauges we look at on the dashboard.  But the word suspension might be foreign.  Basic vehicle knowledge is good to have for all of us that drive cars.
Suspension is the part of our vehicle that includes the springs, shock absorbers and linkages that connect a vehicle to the wheels.   The suspension system isn’t actually essential to the operation of a motor vehicle, but it makes a big difference in the amount of pleasure – or discomfort – experienced while driving.

The springs are the central part of the suspension and nearly all cars have coil springs at all four corners.  These springs absorb the shock from bumps and dips in the road.  The shocks and struts help control the up and down movement of the spring, this is important for keeping the tires in contact with the road.    The shocks are a cylinder with an internal reservoir that is filled with fluid; this cylinder is housed inside the spring.  As the vehicle drives down the street it hits a dip in the road and the spring compresses down, the shock dampens the motion of the spring giving the vehicle a cushion instead of a sharp bounce and keeps the tires firmly on the road thus suspending the vehicle.
The term suspension actually refers to the ability of this bridge to suspend a vehicles frame, body and power train above the wheels.  Just like any bridge suspended over water, the bridge and the water are kept apart.

In some cases drivers associate poor road performance with bad shocks. Automotive shock absorbers are designed to limit the up-and-down movement of the vehicles sprung weight. When these parts are removed the vehicle will bounce wildly for a long period of time.
Automotive shock absorbers help provide the comfortable ride that everybody is looking for. It is also a largely misunderstood car suspension part. Shock absorbers don’t just smooth the ride; they also keep the car or truck controllable after a bump, and that’s always a good thing. Bad shocks aren’t just uncomfortable, they’re also dangerous.

The front suspension strut dampens movement as a vehicle is driven over rough or uneven road surfaces. A vehicle with strut-style suspension has a suspension strut assembly at each wheel, which needs to be replaced if the strut leaks oil or no longer has a dampening effect.

To replace the suspension strut, the wheel is removed from the vehicle. Then the suspension is removed and disassembled (the top spring plate and suspension spring are removed). The old strut is removed and a new one is installed. The suspension is reassembled and reinstalled. To maintain vehicle stability, suspension struts are replaced as a set, so both front suspension struts are replaced at the same time.

All of the springs shocks, links, arms, and bars that keep your car rolling smoothly down the road. Your car’s suspension is a symphony of cushion firmness, or at least you hope it is. When your suspension is out of whack, things can go downhill quickly. The first things to go are usually your tires. If your suspension is bad, your tires will wear prematurely and unevenly, and this costs you money. It’s important to keep your car or truck’s suspension in good shape for safety reasons, too. A car with bad shocks will not be able to avoid a collision or stop nearly as well as it should. Give your suspension a check with us today !



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Is your Auto A/C system ready for the summer season ?

auto a/c systemI can hear my compressor coming on,
my A/C system isn’t blowing cold. Can I cause damage if it continues to operate?
My A/C works but the air doesn’t blow out the vents. Are my vents blocked? Will an a/c check and service help me save money on gas?

Are you asking these questions ? Are you ready for the summer travel season ? ….Don’t sweat it , service it !

Year after year A2Z Automotive sees many vehicles in the spring which we suggest have an air condition system check and maintenance before it gets hot. Most of our customers do have their car’s maintenance completed on a regular basis however those that do not keep up with the a/c auto maintenance eventually need major a/c repair later in the hot summer months.

You could troubleshoot it yourself. (not recommended)

You could….

Become familiar with the major components to auto air conditioning:

  • the compressor, which compresses and circulates the refrigerant in the system
  • the refrigerant, (on modern cars, usually a substance called R-134a, older cars have r-12 freon which is becoming increasingly more expensive and hard to find, and also requires a license to handle) which carries the heat
  • the condenser, which changes the phase of the refrigerant from gas to liquid and expels heat removed from the car
  • the expansion valve (or orifice tube in some vehicles), which is somewhat of a nozzle and functions to simultaneously drop the pressure of the refrigerant liquid, meter its flow, and atomize it
  • the evaporator, which transfers heat to the refrigerant from the air blown across it, cooling your car
  • the receiver/dryer, which functions as a filter for the refrigerant/oil, removing moisture and other contaminants

You should make sure that you auto a/c system is not harming the environment and abides with all federal air conditioning laws.

You could try to ….

Understand the air conditioning process: The compressor puts the refrigerant under pressure and sends it to the condensing coils. In your car, these coils are generally in front of the radiator. Compressing a gas makes it quite hot. In the condenser, this added heat and the heat the refrigerant picked up in the evaporator is expelled to the air flowing across it from outside the car. When the refrigerant is cooled to its saturation temperature, it will change phase from a gas back into a liquid (this gives off a bundle of heat known as the “latent heat of vaporization”). The liquid then passes through the expansion valve to the evaporator, the coils inside of your car, where it loses pressure that was added to it in the compressor. This causes some of the liquid to change to a low-pressure gas as it cools the remaining liquid. This two-phase mixture enters the evaporator, and the liquid portion of the refrigerant absorbs the heat from the air across the coil and evaporates. Your car’s blower circulates air across the cold evaporator and into the interior. The refrigerant goes back through the cycle again and again.

You could….

Look for other things that can go wrong: bad switches, bad fuses, broken wires, broken fan belt (preventing the pump from turning), or seal failure inside the compressor.

But ….

You want to save time,money,and repair cost.

What you should do is consult an auto air conditioning repair shop !




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Does your auto need new brakes ?

brake padsAuto Brakes are extremely important to your automobile working properly and to your family’s safety. Ensuring that your brakes are in proper working order is imperative to avoid danger while traveling. Brakes do give drivers some warning signs when maintenance is needed, but ultimately the car needs to be taken apart for a true inspection of the braking system. It wouldn’t be a good experience if  you hit the pedal, nothing happened. Don’t let this be the way you find out that your brakes aren’t working!

Although changing of your car’s brakes should be done by a professional brake shop, you can certainly listen and/or watch for indicators that your brakes may need service. Squeaking or squealing of the brakes is the first indicator that your brakes may need replacement. Rainy conditions can also cause squeaking, so give the brakes a few days to dry after damp weather. Turn all avoidable noise off in the car, and listen very closely for a clicking sound when the brake is pressed, as this can be another sign of trouble.

Cars are all slightly different to operate, with different years, makes and models; creating a need for familiarity with the car in order to notice a change. When pushing on the brake pedal, be careful to be attentive to the pedal pressure. If the pedal is losing pressure, this could mean that your car needs brake fluid. Either way, this means that your car should be serviced by a professional auto brake shop.If the brake pedal is pulsating when you push on it, your car certainly needs service sooner rather than later! Driving your automobile with these problems will only cause more damage to the car, so get this taken care of as quickly as possible.

A2Z Automotive brake shopStop sign offers a reliable, fast, and economical solution to getting your car back in-shape. With brakes and brake repair, the longer you wait, the more damage you might be doing. So get it in, and feel good about driving again.

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Auto Repair Tips on Saving Gas

We all are affected by the rising gas prices daily. It’s a common discussion amongst the media , politicians , and even world leaders.

Are we going to wait for high prices at the pump to go down before we pack our families and hop in the car to go on vacation? Of course not .

So tip # 1 (don’t drive) is not an option. Carpooling would also be consider under this gas saving tip. First and foremost a vehicle safety inspection should be perform before long trips, let’s assume we all are current with our state’s safety inspections.

Tip # 2 would be fill up efficiently. This consists of three things: fill your tank, do not top off in between fill ups, and refuel at 1/4 tank. Advantages of refilling at a quarter tank are lighter vehicle loads and you allow more room in your tank for when you find that gas station with the best gas prices. However, in cold weather , you run an increased risk of condensation in the fuel tank when tank is less than a quarter fill. This may cause a decrease in your electric fuel pump life.

Tip # 3 … Vehicle maintenance is the most important and is the “meat and potatoes” of saving gas and extending the life of our vehicles .

*Change those spark plugs. Platinum spark plugs may claim to last 100k miles but we have seen those, in many cases , only last 75k miles . Most make and models are relatively inexpensive and does not take long to replace.
* Check condition and air pressure of your tires. Everyone knows this one but does get over looked . Checking tire pressure is best when the tires are cold (not driven more than a mile). Fill tires to manufactures’ recommended air pressure.
* Check the oil . Oil is the blood of your vehicle without it isn’t going anywhere and will cause major engine damage. It is best to change the oil between 3000 – 5000 miles. I know some oil manufacturers claim their product will last 10,000 miles but it is best not to use the same oil for longer than 5k if you want maximum engine efficiency over the vehicle’s long term life .
* Check and replace those filters. Air and fuel filters are important to saving gas as well as engine life and environment issues.

At A2Z Automotive in Missouri we are committed to providing parts and services that will greatly help in our customers’ goals of saving gas and repair costs.

more on fuel economy at CarTalk.


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