“It’s just an old car” is something you might say when your passenger takes note that your car isn’t riding so well. As P80’s, P2’s, and P1’s get to be 10, 15, 20+ years old, original suspension components become worn out and sometimes uncomfortable. Diagnosing these issues can be time consuming and sometimes expensive. Fortunately, here are some tips to help you identify what might be going on with your suspension!
The first sign of worn out bushings is a rough ride. The dried up rubber making up subframe bushings and control arm bushings can cause harsh responses to even minor imperfections in the road. Replacing these components can improve ride quality and handling characteristics. Bangs and clunks can also indicate wear on other components such as spring seats or sway bar endlinks.
Uneven Tire Tread
Another instance where worn bushings can affect drivability and longevity is by causing alignment inconsistencies. These inconsistencies accelerate tire wear by not allowing your tires to roll flat and/or straight. P1’s in particular have a tendency to have excessive camber in the rear, even on stock suspension (typically a byproduct of lowering your car). Replacing bushings and camber arms with adjustable parts can allow you to really dial in your alignment.
When it comes to replacing bushings, oftentimes it's advisable to stick with OEM parts for comfort, especially if your car is used mainly for daily driving. For the enthusiast who prefers sportier handling characteristics, polyurethane bushings can be found from reputable brands like PowerflexUSA for just about every application throughout most models.
After your shocks/struts/dampers have endured long-term use, they can start to leak out the hydraulic fluid controlling your cars stability. The seals get old and brittle and all it takes is one good pothole to make them “blow out”. This issue is especially noticeable when going over bumps and your car can’t regain composure, bouncing up and down with the springs.
Replacement shocks are available in many different shapes and sizes. For the daily driver, OEM and slightly stiffer bolt-in replacements are available. Both Bilstein and Koni offer replacements that vary in damping stiffness. For those with higher performance in mind, coilovers like BC Racing, KW Suspension, and KCDesign allow you to dial in ride height and damping for your ideal driving style.