Van, Truck, Trailer, Bus and Coach Aftermarket News in Ireland

Why quality is key for steering and suspension components

Although they may look insignificant and be the least expensive part of a vehicle’s steering and suspension system, bushes are, in fact, crucial to its correct handling and comfort performance and therefore, its overall safety. In no area is this more the case than with the bushes that are used in suspension arms, which will also have a huge effect on the longevity of the complete unit. 

First Line Ltd has an industry-wide reputation of not compromising with the quality of its components and bushes are no exception, as it only follows the original equipment (OE) standard. Unfortunately, there are bushes in the aftermarket that are of a non-OE standard and these sometimes use a straight, rather than the OE standard, swaged, tube in their construction, and are therefore, cheaper. 

The difference between the two is that a swaged tube provides a greater bonding area for the rubber, which directly increases the longevity of the bush. Although swaging is an extra step in the manufacturing process and therefore an extra cost, the benefits of this process are all too plain to see when the cheaper bush fails earlier than it should. 

It is essential for workshops to have faith in the components they fit, otherwise they are likely to have to answer uncomfortable questions from unhappy customers and suffer the negative effects on their business, should a part fail. Therefore, it is wise to choose a trusted and respected aftermarket supplier that provides total peace of mind and great value for money.

First Line understands this principle and has done all the hard work in ensuring their products meet the highest standards, which means that technicians can fit them with complete confidence. These matters are all about quality, not about the price.

If a replacement bush is poorly manufactured or produced to an inadequate specification, it is highly likely not to possess the correct shore hardness or noise vibration harshness properties that are required, which will have an adverse effect on handling performance/ride quality and could result in the vehicle pulling or lurching in one direction or the other, as it is driven. Even if low quality bushes are replaced as a pair, the vehicle will still not perform as it is designed to and is likely to feel dull and unresponsive to the driver.

Then, once the decision has been made to fit premium quality First Line bushes, it is vital that they are installed correctly. The First Line technical team can encounter wishbones that are returned due to the bushes failing prematurely, which are as a direct result of incorrect fitment, as both their removal and replacement generally requires the use of specialist equipment and elements of the repair procedure can be regularly overlooked.

When it comes to its installation onto the vehicle, a wishbone should only have its fitting bolts tightened when the vehicles wheels and axles are in their normal ride height position. Not, as some workshops do, when the wheels are in an unloaded ‘hanging’ position. Tightening them without load will put a torque reaction on the bushes when the vehicle is taken off the service ramp, which will lead to premature failure of the wishbone, as the centre of the wishbone bush can be been ripped away.

Ultimately, it is important to follow the OEM procedure for any replacement, as some elements will vary from vehicle to vehicle. Best practice following any steering & suspension component replacement is to carry out a full wheel alignment check and where applicable a steering angle sensor reset. For vehicles with ADAS technology, following a vehicle alignment check, the system may need recalibration, but again, refer to the individual OEM procedure for the vehicle being worked on for full details.

In addition to the quality of its products, First Line is widely recognised for the depth of its range and availability of its many service and repair parts. Its steering & suspension range alone is one of the largest in the aftermarket, meaning technicians can not only have complete confidence in its components, but the assurance that they are able to source them when they need them.