What is called a suspension fork and what is it for?
A suspension fork is a part that connects the frame to the tire support. It is also known as a suspension arm or control arm. The reason why it is called a “fork” is because it has thin arms, like teeth, just like the farm implement of the same name.
What is a suspension fork used for?
Depending on the model of the car, there may be two or four control arms. These arms work together with the shock absorbers so that the tires go from the bottom up. In that sense, if any of the components of the arms are damaged you can experience a rough ride.
Its function is to hold the wheel handle, depending on the vehicle you will find that some have an upper and lower fork as in the illustration and others have only a lower fork.
Although the suspension is comprised of many components, we show you a basic system with the main components that hold the wheel:
- lower fork
- upper fork
structure of a fork
As we have previously described there is a wide variety of suspension systems, depending on the type your car can have a single wishbone per side, two wishbones per side (one lower and one upper) or arms or tie rods with double ball joint per side and upper position. and lower.
This last case forms a fork with two arms or braces, they are less used systems and are generally more expensive and difficult to find.
The structure of the fork is as follows:
- Ball joint
- small bushing
- big bushing
The ball joint allows the fork to be connected to the handle or to the steering knuckle, this part is lubricated and currently they are maintenance-free parts. If you want to know everything about ball joints , we invite you to read our article.
The bushings are rubber vulcanized to two metal rings. The outer ring is attached to the fork and the inner ring allows it to be attached to the frame by means of a bolt.
Most forks have one hub larger than the other.
These pieces are made of rubber because their function is to absorb shocks or vibrations that may occur on the road.
Failures that can occur in a fork
This component is one of the parts that suffer the most in a suspension when the shock absorbers fail, they are also very gossipy parts when they fail, so it is easy to detect a problem.
Some common faults are:
- Noises or clicks
- Loss of steering control
- Activation of ABS brake system
Noises or clicks
If the bushings are slightly damaged, any bump or irregularity that occurs in the road will cause this part to generate a noise or a thud.
Loss of steering control
If the bushings have significant play, it is likely that you will lose control of the car at high speed or in very sudden braking you may feel that the car is charging to the side as if you were trying to change lanes.
Activation of the ABS braking system
Significant play in the fork bushings can present problems on rainy days or rough roads by causing an accident or unnecessarily activating the ABS brakes .
We recommend a complete inspection of the suspension and steering every 10,000 kilometers when performing preventive maintenance, tuning or oil changes.
Your trusted mechanical workshop should be able to detect any of the aforementioned failures in a driving test or the damage that any of these components may bring in a visual and stress test.
We invite you to leave your comments and if you have any questions write to us and we will gladly answer you.