9 Shocking Suspension Failures
The suspension is a safety critical system on any car, but when it comes to a track car or one that has been modified for improved performance, it is even more crucial. When the suspension gives way, it is often with dramatic and catastrophic results. These videos underline the importance of buying your shocks from a trusted company and regularly maintaining them.
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Tim Schreyer's BMW 325 is running well and sounds amazing at Road America. He accelerates down the straight between turns 7 and 8 and brakes hard for the upcoming turn 8. At this point, the stress of hard braking or something else causes the right front shock to fail mid-way through the left-hander. Tim loses all steering control and manages to end up safely out of harm's way on the grass.
Sebastien Buemi is casually doing a few practice laps at the Shanghai International Circuit, traveling at high speed, when all of a sudden, bang! Both front wheels have gone and the driver is left in a 100mph sled. Proving that racing drivers have giant cojones, he even tries to steer out of it, before glancing his nose cone on an Armco barrier and coming to a stop in the gravel.
The team later diagnosed the cause of the problem, the right front suspension upright failed, which caused the left front to implode split seconds later. Because the wheels are tethered to these components, they were able to careen down the track. It's scary to think how this incident could have turned out! Again, the incident happened whilst under heavy braking.
Raikkonen was in the lead when he locked his brakes and put sizeable flat spots on his tires. He carried on racing for another 20 laps, when on the final lap and still in the lead, the suspension finally gave out. The flat spots on the tires caused massive vibrations throughout the car and the suspension gave way.
The jury is out on this video with some YouTube commenters saying they thought it was driver error, but if you watch closely at 0:17, you can see the right rear seems to drop rapidly, causing the driver to lose control and flip the car!
This video is insane! 2 guys in a standard Ford Raptor hit a massive jump, easily getting 25 feet of air! When the truck comes back down, it is heavily damaged, the airbags go off and the occupants are seen to by paramedics. The suspension is definitely broken, but that's the least of their worries because so is the rest of the truck!
This Chevy driver takes a very small jump for a photoshoot. Suddenly, the right side shocks completely collapse, how could such a thing happen?
This car made contact with a competitor and suffered a puncture. At this point, the driver should have pulled over safely, but he carried on, the loose wheel eventually tearing off the rear suspension set-up. He also littered the racing line with debris. If this happens to you, pull over as soon as possible whilst you only have a flat tire and nothing else.
Back to the Road America circuit again, where with just 10 laps to go, Conor Daly's left rear suspension totally collapses, leaving him as a passenger with very little control.
This driver experienced a suspension control arm breakage right at the end of the video. He was able to guide the car onto a large open run off area.
Suspension Upkeep and Maintenance Tips
- Track driving takes a lot out of your suspension. Performance shock manufacturers recommend servicing your shocks after every 1,000 miles of circuit racing.
- Heavy braking and harsh steering place extreme force onto the suspension and its fixings.
- Examine the suspension regularly in between servicing to ensure it is safe, replace anything that looks suspect, including fixings as these can shear. Look for leaks, broken seals, cracks, anything that might fail during a race.
- Always use the correct tensile strength bolts and nuts when installing suspension. Follow manufacturers specified torque settings.
- Failed suspension very often causes a complete loss of control, so keep up to those regular checks! Once the suspension has broken, it may separate from the car, taking the wheel and control arm with it and causing heavy damage to the car's tub and bodywork.
- Kerbs, rumble strips and bump spots on a track put extra wear on components, drive around them if possible. If you can't avoid them, inspect your suspension even more frequently.
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