Suspensions

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Suspensions

Rally Car racing pushes suspension components to the limit.

Jeff Gross/Getty Images

You might not think about your car's suspension (until you go over a particularly deep pothole), but its one area where racing technology has translated almost directly to production cars. In car racing, it's best to have all four tires maintain contact with the track. That makes the car more stable and makes sure that all the power the engine creates is helping to move the car along.

Like most production cars, race cars use independent suspensions. These suspensions allow each wheel to move without affecting the movement of the other wheels. Formula One cars use multi-link suspensions, while NASCAR cars tend to use MacPherson struts. Both suspension types are available on a number of production cars.

So, why doesn't your car handle like a race car? While the suspension types may be the same, the adjustment of a NASCAR or Formula One suspension is completely different than the suspension adjustment on your car. In a race car, the suspension has to keep the car stable through turns that generate more force than a production car could handle, as well as extreme acceleration and stopping. Before you go out and adjust your suspension to mimic a race car's capabilities, remember you car has specialized suspension adjustments too: It's adjusted to balance comfort with performance. Comfort doesn't enter the equation for most race car suspensions.

Getting tired? Hopefully not, as we have only 7 more everyday car technologies to discuss with you on our countdown to number 1. Check out the next page for number 7 on our list.

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