To keep your suspension in top condition, the key is to regularly retorque your fasteners. Regardless of the type of suspension on your truck or trailer, the most important aspect of suspension maintenance is having the proper fastener torque. When tightening suspension fasteners, first make sure the joint is clean and free of rust before using the torque wrench. For newer fasteners, tightening once or twice is enough. If your truck is older, your suspension fasteners should be replaced with parts of the same size and torque specifications. And always torque to manufacturer’s specified recommendations.
U-bolts are used to clamp the axle to the suspension, and are also subject to wear and loosening fasteners. The U-bolts need to be torqued regularly. Never reuse a U-bolt or the nut, and always ensure that they have been properly torqued the first time. Under the heavy loads truckers haul every day, these fasteners can become compromised and need to be replaced.
Broken and Worn Bushings
Suspension bushings designed to provide flexibility between moving parts while maintaining a smooth ride wear out over time and need to be replaced. And while visual inspections are typically enough to find problems like gaps between the end caps and the fastener, manual suspension tests can tell a bit more about potential suspension failures. One way to do this is by placing a bottle jack under the end of a suspension beam and moving it up and down, while looking for any movement between the parts. It’s good to have these types of tests done about every six months to stay ahead of any worn fittings or bushings. And every truck driver and truck repair company knows, fixing problems early is the best way to save money and avoid breakdowns.
Truck Shock Absorbers
Even the top brand shocks don’t last forever, even though you might not think there is a problem simply by inspecting your shocks visually. A good general rule is to replace your shocks when you replace your tires, that way everything is fresh and you don’t cause premature wear and tear on one part because you failed to replace the other. Visual inspections should be performed every 20,000 miles, looking for any leaks, cracks, broken mounts or missing fasteners. You can manually grab the shocks and test for any back and forth play that would indicate a missing bolt or internal failure. If you find any liquid oil on the outside of the shock, that’s a major signal of internal failure, and requires immediate replacement. Grease or residue on the outside of the shock is normal and typically comes from the harsh road conditions.