Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Grandma needs a tougher suspension used car - thoughts?

I gave my mother a 98 Nissan Maxima. She lives in an apartment complex with 3 very large speed bumps. The car now needs all kinds of strut and axle work. Rather than fix it, we want to sell it. She’s not picky but wants something with a more sturdy suspension system. This sounds reasonable to me. She can’t climb high so no trucks, though possibly a mini-SUV might work. Further, we live in Denver so front wheel drive at a minimum would be necessary. Does anyone have any thoughts for me? Thanks much.

fwd CR-V or RAV4?

It needs strut and axle work “because” of the speed bumps ? Sounds like some one drives too fast and a new car is no fix. Any car can negotiate properly installed speed bumps if driven properly.

All your Grandma has to do is slow right down,I have speed bumps where I live and I come almost to a complete stop at each bump. Do you think it could be that your Grandma just wants a different vehicle, just tired of the old one???

I agree, the problem isn’t the car. Grandma needs to learn to drive properly.

You assume the speed bumps were built and maintained properly. :slight_smile:

A friend once sold a mid-90s Camry because the speed bumps at her apartment complex were so tall that they TWICE ripped out the exhaust pipe. It wasn’t excessive speed - it was simply not enough ground clearance.

Ok, so that isn’t suspension work… but then several of the speed bumps at my office now have large potholes right after the speed bump. It’s almost debatable whether you want to go fast or slow. If you go fast enough you can actually hop over the pothole. If you go slow, you end up smacking your tire into the edge of the pothole right about 8:30 on the tire. That can mess up a suspension pretty good… and an axle, if the axle ends up touching pavement…

I’d suggest getting a Crown Vic with the police suspension package and just not driving when its snowy.

From my experience years ago, they did fantastic jobs in the Denver area getting roads cleared within hours after most storms… we had RWD and did just fine.

Hyundai Tuscon, Ford Escape, Subaru Outback/Forester

Fix the suspension and then rent Grandma a jackhammer so she can take out the speed bumps. Older people can get away with doing all sorts of things–sometimes even cheered on. From my perspective, it pays to be a geezer.

"You assume the speed bumps were built and maintained properly. :slight_smile: "

If you drive over speed bumps at 5 MPH, they are not a problem. I have a 1998 Buick Regal with the original struts - and several speed bumps between me and the grocery store. No, I don’t have to drive over them every day. But I have negotiated them for 12 years.

If she removed the speed bumps from my parking lot, I’d evict her. This advice isn’t helpful.

Again, you’re assuming that the speed bumps were built and maintained properly.

There are some horrid speed bumps around here that simply cannot be negotiated at any speed without some risk of damaging the car. You can’t tell me that ones like I described at my office can be driven over at 5 mph without risk of damage.

If they’re that well done where you live, I’m jealous.

Relax, jt… it was clearly a joke, somewhat funny, and no less helpful than ignoring the OP’s issues with speedbumps by dismissing the possibility that it might not be possible to drive the speed bumps in the apartment complex without damaging the suspension.

What if the OP didn’t think it was a joke? And where is this speed bump that destroys cars moving at 5 MPH? It must be a doozie!

Grandma’s car is almost 13 years old. Depending on the conditions under which the car was operated during its life, the suspension problems may not have been caused by the speed bumps in the apartment complex parking lot. I can’t imagine that everyone in the apartment complex drives a vehicle with a heavy duty suspension. If other residents are having suspension problems because of the speed bumps, then the owners of the apartment complex need to re-engineer these speed bumps.

I intended the bit about the jackhammer as a joke. However, I shouldn’t have underestimated what older people will do. I lived down the street from a widow who was in her late 70’s, less than 5’2" tall and weighed at most 100 pounds. When she put her garbage cans out by the street for trash pick-up, the two men on the back of the truck decided that one garbage can was too heavy and didn’t dump it in the hopper. My neighbor carried the garbage can back to the house. The next week, she again toted her garbage cans to the street and hid along side her house. When the garbage truck stopped at her house, the two men again decided the one can was too heavy. My neighbor tore out to the street, picked up the garbage can, turned it over and dumped it into the hopper. She then looked at these great big trashmen and said, “You boys want me to ride along and help you with the heavy cans?” This woman might just have rented a compressor and jackhammer if she thought a speed bump needed to be re-engineered.

One more thought: When crossing speedbumps, let the car roll over the bumps–do not have the brakes applied. Rolling over the bumps is easier on the suspension than having the brakes applied and the wheels locked.

Here are some coordinates for you. The first two of these were massive jarring speedbumps. The third was a series of three speedbumps about 8" tall spaced 12" apart, and was closed off a few years ago after they had too many lawsuits.

42.297774N ,-83.723144W
39.200896N ,-84.50715W

Say, you get around! Illinois, Michighan, and Ohio! Can I see these speed bumps with Google Maps?

The first one is the yellow stripe… the others the resolution is too poor. But you can see where they are on the face of the earth. :slight_smile:

If she won’t slow down for speed bumps, no car will help, unless you want to get her one of the original Hummers.

Are you sure it is the speed bumps? It sounds like she might be hitting some curbs, and it might be time for her to stop driving before she kills someone.