Bad roads killed my suspension - What can I do?



My daily commute takes me on a number of pothole infested roads and it has wrecked havoc on my 2003 Honda Civic Coupe(I have owned it for less than a year). I don’t anticipate that this commute is going to change anytime soon so, I was wondering: is it worthwhile to upgrade my shocks before I do some serious damage to my suspension? Is it as simple as that?


I know what you mean, I live in Michigan which has some of the worst roads in the country. What helps some for me is to run the tires a little soft. Since somethings gotta give, it does save some of the beating on the suspension. Of course this is Michigan too, not Arizona, so over hundreds of thousands of miles Ive never had a heat related tire failure from running them a little soft. I did have a tire failure once from picking up a 6" long bolt in the highway.


I, for one, don’t understand; what havoc?

What type of damage?  What condition was it in a year ago when you bought it?  What kind of care or abuse did it have in the prior three years?


Maybe you need a vehicle with REAL suspension instead of the PaperMate Pen retraction parts that serve as “suspension” on most econo-boxes…


Replace the worn out suspension parts (struts, springs, etc.) and try to keep the wheels aligned. That’s about all you can do, other than to avoid the potholes when possible.

“Upgrade” to what? Your Civic has the best suspension components the Honda engineers could come up with.


“Upgrade” to what? Your Civic has the best suspension components the Honda engineers could come up with.

I don’t want to call you out or anything, but I see this argument a LOT on these forums and to be blunt, it’s BS. Cars NEVER come with “the best the engineers could come up with” unless it’s an ultra expensive car like the McLaren F1. Cars are ALWAYS a compromise between what the engineer wants (which is generally the best) and what the accountants want (which is generally the cheapest). Especially in today’s financial climate, the accountants tend to win more battles than they lose.

Your comment is especially incorrect because Hondas no longer come with the “best suspension components the engineers could come up with.” By 1990 or so all Hondas came with double wishbone suspension. This replaced the MacPherson struts they used to come with because the double wishbone made the car handle a lot better. Hondas were known for handling. Then a few years back they went back to MacPherson struts. Why? The answer, as always, is cost. MacP strut suspensions are cheaper than double wishbones. They aren’t the best. They’re the cheapest.


I would suggest that when suspension parts do wear out, replace them with lifetime warranty parts. That way, in the future, you’ll only have to pay for the labour involved in installing the parts, and not the parts themselves.
Also, you could see if an aftermarket company makes heavy duty suspension parts for your Honda. It might be a long shot, and they’d likely be more expensive. Personally, I’d go with the lifetime warranty parts, replacing parts as they wear out.


The car was in excellent condition when I bought it - it had (what I consider) higher (67K) mileage but everything indicates those miles were on the highway. I now notice a clunk/knock in the front tires when I encounter any part of the road that isn’t flat. At first I thought that it was associated with the tires being rotated and maybe it wasn’t done properly but, no matter what the problem is, I can’t change the road conditions (which are very poor).


Thanks for that suggestion! I will give that a try until I get things fixed.


Thank you for the suggestion. It’s a good place to start.


Fortunately I have to take the car in for it’s 80K mile service call soon. I will broach the subject with my dealership and see what options they present. Thanks.


If you get heavy duty shocks, the car will ride like a dump truck going through a mine field.


Don’t hit large bumps or potholes with the brakes heavily applied. It’s less stressful for the suspension to just ride though them without braking.


There’s nothing you can do about damage suspension caused by bad roads except keep repairing it or raise Cain until the powers that be actually spend ALL of the road money on the roads instead of every pork barrel project that comes down the pike.
(In Oklahoma, only 35-40% of “road money” is spent on the roads.)

Stiffening up the suspension or heavy duty shocks only means the ball joints, control arm bushings, etc. are going to take a worse beating than they already are.


No just replace as necessary and slow down over bumps.

I had a Civic coupe and the suspension did squeak and rattle starting at 160k miles(6years old) but was OEM at 225k miles(9 years) but creaky.

Basically replacement is the answer and just run tires at proper pressure.

Next time at car purchase consider a midsize vehicle like Honda Accord. They take bumps significantly better to your body and the vehicle. The suspension lasts longer. There is only a slight fuel penalty for these cars considering the significantly better ride they deliver.

After my Subaru WRX I am done with small cars.