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What Is Independent Rear Suspension?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 01 September 2014
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Independent rear suspension is a configuration of car and truck suspension systems that make it possible for each wheel on an axle to move in a vertical direction independent of the other. This make it possible for each wheel to react to uneven road conditions in a more efficient manner. Suspension systems of this type are one of four suspension systems currently in common use and are often favored by specific manufacturers.

While many different makes and models of vehicles make use of independent front suspension systems, the use of an independent rear suspension system is not quite as popular. However, major manufacturers like the Ford Motor Company in the United States often use the rear suspension model. Consumers who prefer to purchase makes and models that do not make use of the IRS design can choose to purchase independent rear suspension kits and have them installed in place of other axle configurations.

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There are a couple of benefits that are associated with the use of an independent rear suspension. One advantage has to do with the smoothness of the ride. Because the wheels are able to function independently of each other, one wheel can absorb the vibrations of an uneven stretch of road without sharing the movement with the wheel located on the opposite end of the axle. People who are riding in the back seat of a vehicle equipped with an ATV independent rear suspension will gain the most benefit, although the driver and any other passenger in the front of the vehicle will also notice the quality of the ride.

Another reason for going with this type of suspension has to do with the handling ability of the vehicle. Navigating roadways that are punctuated with dips, worn sections of pavement, or potholes is much easier when the vehicle is equipped with an IRS system. This can be especially important for people who use their vehicles in work situations, such as construction workers who routinely transport tools in the truck and may have to go across rough terrain in order to reach a building site.

The process of managing an independent rear suspension conversion is not a task that is usually accomplished by home mechanics. The installation process calls for the use of intricate equipment that is found at garages and other types of transportation centers. In addition, the computer technology that is found at many modern garages makes it possible to check the balance and range of movement of the wheels on the axle in a way that is simply not possible in a home environment.

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