Have you ever felt like you’re constantly driving on the world’s worst road? Even when the tarmac is nice and smooth, your car feels like it’s bumping and jumping around everywhere. Driving a car shouldn’t be a challenge – it should feel nice and easy, with the vehicle gliding over any slight bumps. However, your vehicle feels like you’re trying to tame a bucking bronco!
Why is this the case? Okay, bad roads might be the reason – especially in some parts of the country. Winter driving is always a challenge because so many potholes form due to bad weather. Still, you will know if this is the case or not. If you head onto a clean stretch of the motorway, and your car is still juddering about, some problems are clearly manifesting. Usually, it’s thanks to one of the following issues:
Incorrect tyre pressure
Tyre pressure is definitely one of the most under-appreciated aspects of a vehicle. It’s one of those things that you don’t think is important, until you change the tyre pressure and notice a difference. Loads of you are driving around right now with tyres that are below their recommended pressure reading. Every car has a specific pressure that each tyre should be set to, and you can find it in the manual. If, for whatever reason, you don’t have a manual, simply type in your car’s make and model into Google, and you’ll soon find the correct tyre pressure.
When your tyres are slightly deflated, they lose stability and traction. Have you ever suffered a puncture? If so, you’ll know how much worse your car feels without a fully-functional tyre. A similar thing happens when the pressure is too low, so increase it! Keep checking tyre pressure every month or so to ensure it remains at the right level. Honestly, you’ll feel a distinct change as soon as you inflate your tyres. It will amaze you how much better your car feels to drive.
Yes, your tyres are double culprits in the bumpy ride department. The pressure may be perfect, but what about the tread? Worn tyres will have less grip than fresh ones, leading to a bumpier ride. This is another one of those things that you don’t think about until you witness the change. After changing your tyres, everything feels much smoother. Your car is easier to control, and it glides across the road.
How do you know if your tyres are worn down enough to warrant a change? Generally, most experts agree that 3mm tyre tread depth is the minimum to have. If yours is lower than this, you should change the tyres. Or, if your tyres are over 10 years old, they should be changed – probably along with the wheels. It’s actually illegal to roll around with a tyre tread of less than 1.6mm in the UK! You can be fined up to £2,500 for this, so that’s all the incentive you need to check your tyres before you head out.
Naturally, a bumpy ride is often attributed to a poor suspension system. In essence, the suspension is what supports your vehicle and absorbs shocks when you drive. Cars with an excellent suspension will always feel a lot better to drive than ones with a poor one. But, even the best cars can suffer from suspension issues over time. When this happens, your ride becomes a lot bumpier as you basically lack the usual support and stability from the suspension.
Commonly, problems occur due to damage to different parts of the suspension. This can be down to the poor quality of roads in your area. Debris can flick up and damage the suspension under your car, which can weaken different parts of it. It’s also common to see the rear or front part of your suspension drop a little bit. In turn, this leads to an uneven ride that’s extremely bouncy. That’s actually a very good way to see if suspension issues are the cause of your bumpy ride – think about if you bounce around a lot. If you do, it’s most likely a suspension problem, so go to the local garage and get it fixed.
Does your car drive nicely, but starts getting jittery when you brake? Even if you feather the brake pedal and put your foot down gently, it still seems to jerk around. If this is the case, you definitely have issues with the brakes. Leave no time in getting this seen to as it is a major safety issue. You can’t take any chances – what happens if one day the brakes just stop working altogether? You can cause an accident that gets yourself and others seriously hurt.
Again, this is a simple problem to diagnose as you should only experience a bumpy ride while braking. So, pay close attention to your car whenever you brake. If you’re even slightly worried, book your car in for servicing to let a mechanic check it out.
Lastly, your bad ride could be down to some engine issues. Generally, an engine should run very smoothly. This means that it doesn’t vibrate the entire car and cause things to shudder. It might make a nice loud noise, but you shouldn’t feel like you’re fighting to drive smoothly because of the engine.
If this is the case, there’s probably some issue inside the bonnet of your car. It could be a spark plug problem, or it might be a lack of oxygen getting into the engine. In either case, your engine is working too hard, causing it to vibrate and splutter. Naturally, this will cause a bumpy ride!
One of these issues will be the reason behind your terrible ride. Thankfully, you can avoid and correct all of them by following a regular maintenance routine. This means checking tyre pressure regularly and booking your car in for yearly services. You could also avoid driving on terrible roads (if possible) or at least drive more cautiously to avoid damaging the suspension.