Your Dodge Caliber Suspension Made Simple
The Dodge Caliber is a five-door hatchback made between 2007 and 2012. It had a front engine and front-wheel drive setup. The Caliber replaced previous compact Dodge and Chrysler brands of the Neon and PT Cruiser. It primarily featured inline four gasoline engines, though a turbo diesel and turbo gas engine were also made. Five and six-speed manual transmissions and a CVT automatic were also available. The Caliber featured an automatic all-wheel drive option and had a rating of "good" for frontal crash testing. Safety and a roomy interior were some of the selling points for the compact Caliber.
According to Repair Pal, the Dodge Caliber has a few common suspension problems. The first one is premature wear on the front struts. This issue affects five model years between 2007 and 2011. Symptoms of this problem including poor handling and a rough ride. Another issue with the 2007 model is a swishing sound coming from the rear when going over bumps. New shock caps are recommended as the solution.
How A Car Suspension Works
At first glance, it would seem that a car suspension's job is pretty easy, right? As long as the ride is good and bumps aren't as bumpy, it's working. However, the truth is that few systems in your car endure as much stress as the suspension. Without a suspension supporting it, your car wouldn't last very long as it would be jolted with every small bump in the road. The suspension doesn't just protect the passengers and cargo, but it also protects your car's body and other parts from some serious wear and tear. The suspension system's job is to keep your wheel assembly in contact with the ground as much as possible.
The importance in this lies in the fact that your tires are actually the only part of your car touching the road. This means that your wheels and tires are responsible for supporting your car, allowing you to handle it, stopping and transferring raw power into controllable forward motion. Most modern vehicles have front and rear independent suspensions, which allow individual wheels to travel independently. Earlier cars and some modern cars had rear tires that do not move independently. This gives you less traction and more unpredictable handling.
Shocks and springs are equipped on each wheel to compress and cushion the impact of the road. Springs work to hold weight off the wheels and are compression resistant. Shocks force consistent compression and decompression, which keeps the springs from bouncing. Modern shocks have stronger resistance to large bumps and lower resistance to small bumps.
What Does the Suspension Do?
The goal of a suspension system is to provide solutions to these three principles:
- Road holding
- Road isolation
The goal of road isolation is to make sure that the body of the vehicle has an undisturbed ride even when traversing rough roads. The solution provided by the suspension is to absorb energy caused by bumps in the road and then dissipate it without bothering the vehicle.
The goal of road holding is to keep the tires in contact with the road as this is what provides handling and stopping power. The solution is to minimize side to side and back to front vehicle weight transfer. Any back and forth movement of the car reduces the ability of the tires to grip the road.
The goal of cornering is to enable a vehicle to travel in a curved trajectory without body roll. The solution is to transfer the car's weight while cornering from its high side over to its low side.
As you can see, all three of these jobs are extremely important to keeping your car upright on the road.
You might think of the suspension as mostly consisting of shocks and springs and the parts connecting them to the frame. Not everyone realizes that wheels and tires are important parts of your suspension and tires especially need to be checked and maintained. You should always regularly check the inflation of your tires between 1,000 and 3,000 miles or so. Even a few pounds less of air can reduce fuel economy, hasten tire wear and make your ride rougher, or even unsafe. The other aspect to checking your tire inflation is being able to detect if one or more tires is losing air faster than it should. This can alert you of a leak before it wrecks your tire.
Many drivers have the unfortunate assumption that they'll be able to spot a tire with low air. That was an acceptable approach in the past, but modern tires are designed to continue holding their shape up until they've lost nearly all their air. Your tire could be dangerously low on air and still look normal.
Here's a quick list of suspension maintenance activities:
- Check tire inflation and tread between 1,000 and 3,000 miles
- Check power steering fluid with every oil change
- Rotate tires according to manufacturer directions
- Align wheels between 15,000 and 30,000 mile intervals
- At every alignment, check other suspension parts for wear
- After an accident or if you notice a ride or handling change, check all suspension parts
Suspension parts other than the wheels and tires are largely maintenance free. If you notice significant changes in the ride or handling, or if the vehicle has been in an accident, you should have all the hidden parts fully checked out.
Visit Moparnow.com for all your OEM Caliber suspension parts and much more. Choose your vehicle from the drop down menu to search, or for more accurate results, enter your VIN, part number or keyword. Whether you need to repair worn Caliber suspension parts or want to upgrade or customize, we have you covered with genuine OEM Dodge parts. Don't risk the uncertainty of a bad fit with aftermarket parts, but instead get the original Dodge parts made exactly for your vehicle. If you have questions or need help finding the right part, our Dodge parts experts are ready to provide answers.