Independent rear suspensions have been used in off-road and high-performance vehicles to allow greater wheel response and performance on uneven road surfaces. While the technology allows for drivers to grip the road better, it also has several disadvantages which contribute to difficult handling and higher maintenance costs. Drivers with vehicles utilizing independent rear suspension systems should take a few weeks of practice to learn how the new vehicle handles before truly taking the car out for a high-speed spin.
The greatest advantage of the independent rear suspension is its performance on uneven surfaces. The movement of each rear wheel is not affected by the other so the vehicle is able to maintain traction where a solid-axle vehicle might lose contact with the driving surface. This also works to maximize tire performance as independent suspensions allow the tread to contact the road over a great surface area allowing the tire to wear more evenly and extend life.
Rear Suspension Weight
A marked disadvantage of the independent suspension system is the weight it places on the vehicle. The result of the heavier suspension coupled with independent wheel movements can result in a condition known as "under steer" whereby the car's trajectory during turns does not match up with the path the driver intends. This can result in significant damage to the vehicle and passengers if the turn is taken at high speeds or during inclement weather conditions.
Independent rear suspensions are much more complicated pieces of equipment to maintain over solid-axle designs. This is due to the several proprietary designs of rear suspensions having unique equipment requirements that also require specific vehicle body designs. For example, a vehicle using a MacPherson strut rear suspension system must have a unibody construction to allow enough room for the equipment system. As a result, other struts are not usable with vehicles using MacPherson struts.
- Photo Credit suspension image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com
Advantages & Disadvantages of a Suspension Bridge
The Golden Gate and George Washington bridges are two iconic American examples of suspension bridges, but the longest one in the world...
What Are the Benefits of a Solid Rear Axle?
The solid ("live") rear axle has gotten a lot of bad press in recent years. Though technophiles insist that more modern independent...
Struts Vs. Coilovers
A vehicle's suspension has a direct effect on ride comfort, handling and height. MacPherson struts suspension uses a simple shock absorber design....
The Disadvantages of Having Air Suspension
Air (pneumatic) suspensions are one of three basic types of suspensions, the other two being spring and hydraulic. While air suspensions do...
Solid Axle Vs. Independent
Your car's handling, performance and ride are all dependent on the kind of axle it has. There are a variety of axle...
What Is a VW IRS Transmission?
A VW IRS, or Volkswagen independent rear suspension, transmission is a special type of transmission that can be found in several models...
- Advantages & Disadvantages of an Internal Revenue Agent
Live Axles Vs. Independent Rear Suspensions
Independent rear suspensions aren't new, but they still haven't quite overtaken the solid ("live") axle the way some predicted decades ago. It...
The Advantages of Airbag Suspension
Many vehicles are equipped with a metal suspension system, composed of coil and leaf springs. Airbag suspension replaces these steel components with...
Types of Independent Rear Suspension
Independent suspensions offer two benefits over traditional straight-axle suspensions. The first is that movement of one wheel doesn't affect the other, so...
- Rules for Consolidated Tax Returns
The Advantages of Independent Front Suspension
Independent front suspension was developed in the 1930s to improve automobile performance by allowing each wheel to respond independently to bumps, ruts...