How Stock Car Suspensions Work

Stock Car Brackets and Knuckles

­One part of a stock car's suspension that takes quite a beating is the steering assemblage. Steering brackets and knuckles, which hold the steering assemblage together, get a constant workout and can knock a driver out of a race should they fail. That makes sense -- proper steering and control is an obvious necessity for a sport involving cars traveling at high speeds.

­The steering wheel is connected to the suspension and wheels via the steering knuckles. The knuckle connects the steering wheel to the rest of the car, allowing the driver to direct the vehicle. Two control arms link the chassis and the front suspension, while trailing arms connect the chassis to the rear suspension. Tie rod ends connect to the steering knuckles, which directly control the wheels [source: Burt].

The control arms are connected to the frame with pivoting mounts and steering bushings. Ball joints connect them to the steering knuckle. As the driver turns the wheel, motion is transferred down the steering shaft to the steering gear.

Because knuckles can and do fail, they're connected to the frame with steel cables to prevent the wheel assembly from flying off during a crash [source: Burt].

­Turning during high speeds puts tremendous pressure on the steering assembly and chassis. Throw in a couple of bumps, and a race car can spin out of control. What helps a car maintain control while the driver navigates a turn? The shocks. Next we'll learn about the importance of shock absorbers on the stock car circuit.

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