9641 US-70 BUS W Clayton, NC 27520
Clayton Lube and Tune in Clayton, NC, reflects on Cleopatra’s suspension system versus today’s advanced suspension systems. Cleopatra had one of the first vehicle suspension systems known to man. In fact, it was men who were her suspension system. A gold-laced carrier with silk robes of many colors, gold linings, and two extended frames to hold the weight of Cleopatra’s vehicle. Underneath this behemoth were many men who carried the princess on their shoulders. As they walked her through town or entered an arena, the men’s shoulders bore the weight, and their feet acted as shock absorbers.
Her luxury vehicle would sway, nosedive, and absorb the forces through foot punishment of the male suspension system. Shoulders would misalign, and the vehicle would have a bumpy ride. They would hit uneven patches of road, lose footing in holes, and one or more may have stumbled along the way. The undercarriage was smooth so that you couldn’t look at shocks, they were shoulders. This suspension system disassembled as soon as Cleopatra stepped off.
Today, we use shock absorbers, springs, and struts to absorb road punishment. When we enter a turn and feel a pulling sensation, we can assume something is wrong. The vehicle is no longer stable against the centrifugal forces of a turn, increasing the risk of a rollover.
After driving down a highway and exiting at a high rate of speed, we may need to hit the brakes for traffic or any number of reasons. If your car suddenly goes nose-first toward the pavement, you may have a shock absorber problem. This part of the suspension can increase stop time by 10% to 15%, leaving you vulnerable.
One of the first things to do is to look at the tires. If you notice uneven tread, bald spots, or irregular tire wear, that usually is a sign the suspension isn’t holding the vehicle evenly. This puts varying amounts of pressure on the tires, which isn’t good.
You can view the shock absorbers and struts if you get on the ground or put your vehicle on the rack. Struts are part of the vehicle’s structure, and shocks are not. If they look greasy or oily, they might leak fluid and not work properly.
When Cleopatra wanted to try the bounce test, she stood up. She moved about the carriage testing the weight distribution of her manly suspension. But, the drivers of today’s vehicles push on the front and rear of the vehicle with all their weight, and if the car bounces after one thrust, the shocks may need to be replaced. I guess some things aren’t so different after all.
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