All About Your GMC Suspension System

GMC is the commonly used name for General Motors Company, a top American automaker and multinational corporation located in Detroit. GMC makes and sells several auto brands, including Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC. Your GMC suspension parts keep your GMC vehicle riding comfortably and handling properly on the road. Find out more about the different suspension parts and how to maintain them and recognize problems.

GMC Suspension Parts

A GMC suspension system consists primarily of springs, shocks and the linkage that connects the entire vehicle to the wheels. The frame is the base part of the vehicle and each wheel has a shock absorber and control arm that connects to the frame, and then the steering linkage connects these parts to the steering wheel, enabling the driver to steer the vehicle. A suspension's main job is to allow road holding and handling as well as a comfortable ride for the passengers or cargo of the vehicle. Without a suspension, a vehicle would have to absorb every impact from uneven road surfaces, which would cause great wear and tear on the body, not to mention being uncomfortable.

There is a difference between the suspensions on front-wheel drive vehicles vs four-wheel drive. For the former, a rear suspension has less constraints and uses both beam axles and independent suspension types. Four-wheel drive vehicles have front and rear suspensions that are more similar than different, while rear-wheel drive vehicles have a more constrained rear suspension.

When looking at suspension parts, there are four main systems that make up the suspension of a vehicle. The frame is the vehicle's structure and load-bearing system that carries the engine and body. The suspension system itself is various components that have the functions of weight support, shock absorption and dampening, and maintaining tire contact with the road. The steering system is a component that allows the driver to direct the vehicle on the road. Tires and wheels promote vehicle motion by gripping and/or creating friction with the road.

GMC Suspension Maintenance

Every GMC vehicle needs regular maintenance to keep it running and performing as it should. Nearly every system in a vehicle needs some type of maintenance to keep it from failing prematurely. Suspensions play an important part in driver and passenger comfort, but they also allow safe turns and reliable behavior in emergency situations. Modern suspensions have to be able to perform on both smooth asphalt and rough, rocky roads. They have to perform reliably in slow traffic and at high speeds, with only one passenger, or several plus cargo.

One of the easiest things to do in suspension maintenance is to check up on the wheels and tires. Check for proper tire inflation and for any other issues with the tire. Even a pound of under-inflation can work against good gas mileage, while increasing tire wear and even making the vehicle unsafe. In the past, many drivers relied on simply checking tires visually for under-inflation, but on modern tires this no longer works. Modern tires are designed to keep holding their shape even when nearly empty of air. A tire can easily be dangerously low on air and look normal. It's important to carry a tire gauge and use it to check the tires every 1,000 to 3,000 miles.

If your owner's manual indicates that your tires should be rotated, then you should have that done about every 10,000 miles. Certain tires wear faster than others and keeping them regularly rotated helps avoid a situation of one or two worn tires while the others still have life. Wheel alignment is another task that can help suspension and that should be done about every 30,000 miles, or more often if you regularly drive on rough roads.

The good news is that most of the rest of your suspension doesn't need a lot of maintenance. When an internal suspension part wears out, it usually needs to be replaced. There's nothing wrong with checking parts out on a regular basis, or after an accident. If you notice significant handling or ride comfort changes, it's also a good idea to have your suspension checked.

Suspension Problems and Repairs

Even though suspension parts can generally last a long time, they do wear out after years of supporting your vehicle. Sometimes people think that the suspension is mainly responsible for a comfortable ride, but as previously mentioned, a bad suspension is also a serious safety issue. The good news is that your vehicle's behavior will warn you that suspension repairs are necessary. Take a look at the following six signs for suspension problems.

1.Rough ride

When you start feeling the road more, especially on rough roads, but even on smooth ones, it could indicate a worn suspension. You may also notice your vehicle's body bouncing when hitting bumps or potholes. An uncomfortable ride is one of the top signs that the suspension needs some repairs.

2.Pulling during turns

A worn suspension often causes a vehicle to pull or drift when you turn. This is due to worn shocks that are unable to stabilize the vehicle against centrifugal force while turning. The feeling might be fairly scary, as though the vehicle might roll over, and in fact, this type of behavior does indeed represent an increased risk of rollover.

3.Vehicle nose dives upon stopping

When you step on your breaks and your vehicle takes a significant nose dive, it's a good indication that you have worn shocks. It might seem innocuous at first, but in truth, a bad suspension can make it take up to 20 percent longer to fully stop your vehicle.

4.Uneven wear on your tires

If you rotate your tires regularly and get wheel alignments done, but are still noticing uneven tire wear, a bad suspension may be the culprit. The reason is that the system is no longer evenly supporting the vehicle and therefore causing uneven tire wear.

5.Greasy shocks

If you visually inspect your shocks and notice a greasy or oily look to them, it's highly probable that they're leaking fluid and if they're leaking fluid, then they aren't working properly. If you have any of the other aforementioned symptoms at the same time, it's probably time to get your shocks replaced.

6.The bounce test

Perhaps you have one or more of the symptoms mentioned above and want to know if there's a test to confirm that you have a bad suspension. There is a simple test that anyone can do. Put your vehicle in park and then press down on the hood as hard as you can and then bounce it a few times. You can repeat the test on the rear as well. If the vehicle bounces more than two or three times after you remove your weight, then the suspension does indeed have problems.

Visit gmpartworld.com to find all the GMC suspension parts you need, including shocks, struts, springs and more. Search our extensive inventory for parts for all your GMC vehicles by entering a VIN, part number or keyword. You can also select your GM vehicle from the drop down menu. Making repairs on your GMC vehicle is never a fun job, but we're here to make it easier with guaranteed genuine OEM GMC parts that will fit and perform just like the originals. If you can't find what you need or have any questions, just contact our GMC parts team.