5 Signs Your Car's Suspension is Damaged

Diagnosing the Most Common Symptoms of Suspension Failure

Maintaining your car’s suspension is critical to your driving comfort and control over your vehicle. A damaged suspension will make your car feel unstable and unbalanced. Driving with a damaged suspension will cause more damage to your whole car over time, and, depending on which part of your suspension is damaged, your car may be unsafe to drive. Learn the signs of suspension failure to know when to get your car serviced.

  1. Your Car Pulls to One Side While Driving

A car pulling to the left or right is a common sign of suspension problems. Your car might be pulling due to:

  • Uneven tire pressure or wear

  • Poor alignment

  • Damaged tie rods

  • Damaged steering rack

  • Brake issues 

2. Your Car Bounces, Dips, Dives & Sways

If driving your car feels like being on a bad roller coaster after going over a bump, there’s a problem with your suspension. If your car bounces, dips, dives or sways, you may have one or a few suspension issues: 

  • Worn shocks

  • Damaged struts

  • A loose steering linkage

  • Unevenly worn and/or misaligned tires

3. One Side of Your Car Leans or Sits Lower Than the Other

A car that leans to one side or sits lower on one side than the other when parked is trying to tell you your suspension’s off. You could have: 

  • Worn or damaged struts

  • Worn or damaged shock absorbers

  • Worn or damaged coil springs

4. You Hear Squeaking, Clanking or Knocking

If you hear squeaking, clanking, or knocking when your car turns and poor control when you try to steer, you have: 

  • Worn ball joints 

  • Chassis bolt is out of place 

  • Bad tie rods (usually accompanied by vibrating or shaking in your steering wheel)

  • A bad control arm 

  • A bad drive shaft

5. Your Car is Hard to Steer

If your car is hard to steer, your car might have: 

  • A problem with your steering fluid levels

  • A bad drive shaft

  • A worn control arm 

  • A bent axle 

  • A bent rim

  • A tire rubbing against the frame of your car

Can I Drive My Car with a Bad Suspension? 

The short answer to if you can drive with a damaged suspension is “no.” Address suspension issues as they arise to prevent further, more expensive damage to your car and to make sure your car is safe to drive. You don’t have to spend a fortune on new parts- ask us about our massive selection of used suspension replacement parts for an affordable alternative to fix your car. 


If you’re desperate to get by in the very short term, here’s our cheat sheet to follow at your own risk: 

Suspension Problem

Can I (Technically) Drive With It Temporarily?


Damaged Drive Shaft


Driving with a damaged drive shaft can cause further damage to your suspension and your car.

Damaged Control Arms

Carefully and slowly, yes

Damaged control arms put uneven wear on your tires and make your car hard to handle. Repair ASAP.

Damaged Wheel


If you attempt to drive with a cracked wheel, it can break in an instant and cause a crash. If your wheel is completely broken, your car won’t move.

Damaged Shock Absorber

Carefully and slowly, yes

Your car will be uncomfortable and hard to drive. Don’t turn or stop suddenly, and don’t get on the freeway or go fast with a damaged shock absorber. Repair ASAP.

Damaged Struts


Driving on damaged struts isn’t safe- it will damage your car and it’s uncomfortable, too.

Damaged Springs


Driving a car with damaged springs is unwise, as it will be too difficult to control in an emergency and one bump can leave you without a tire.

Damaged Anti-Roll Bar

Carefully and slowly, yes

Don’t make quick turns and drive slowly because you won’t be able to react quickly in an emergency. Repair ASAP.

Damaged Steering Linkage


Way too dangerous to lose steering control.

Flat Tire


Driving on a flat tire isn’t safe, and it can completely wreck your wheel, causing a much more expensive fix than just a tire or a patch.

The Bottom Line on a Bad Suspension 

It’s not safe to drive with a bad suspension, and pushing your luck by continuing to drive with a bad suspension will cause a lot more damage to your car. You can expect to pay between $200-$5,000 to replace your suspension. If your car is already valued at $5,000 or less, a damaged suspension likely means the end of an era.