Driving over a rugged and abusive terrain causes the vehicle to also run uneven and bouncy especially if it is not fitted with a good quality suspension system, or if the suspension system becomes defective. A vehicle's suspension system is that assembly which attaches the vehicle's wheels to the frame (metal skeletal structure) and takes care of the vehicle's ride quality and handling performance. Ride quality refers to the way an automobile feels as it accelerates and dash off the road to give the occupants as much comfort as possible, while handling performance refers to the ability of an automobile to keep on running in the intended direction even over rugged terrains, or to take cornering movements as smoothly as possible at a higher speed.
Basic components that comprises the suspension system includes coil springs or leaf springs, shock absorbers or struts, anti-sway bars, and a system of linkages like the control arms, torsion bars, 4-links or trailing arms. Moreover, suspensions particularly the independent front suspension feature a ball and socket mechanism that is akin to a human's hip. Such is called a ball joint. Ball joints like the Mercury ball joint is a flexible coupling that attaches both the upper and the lower A-arms to the wheel carrier or steering knuckle. Usually, front wheels employ two pairs of ball joint assembly (upper and lower) for better bouncing impact absorption, thus giving the vehicle and excellent ride quality and superb handling performance.
Ball joints enable the spindle to spin and move vertically at the same time whenever maneuvered to take in the pounding pressure caused by road bumps. In addition, ball joints are designed to be an inner ball to be fastened to the spindle with the socket being bolted to the control arm. It is important to periodically check on the car's ball joint to avoid uncomfortable ride, irritating noise, wheel misalignment, or worse, road mishaps. Maintaining the ball joint's good working condition is as easy as lubricating it about twice a year. However, there are ball joints that do not need greasing but still functions effectively the same. One way to know if the ball joint already needs to be replaced is when it could no longer tightly fit to the socket as it did before.
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