Pros & Cons of Torsion Bars

by Sam Grover

Torsion bars are a kind of suspension system. They minimize the force of bumps and holes in the road felt by the car's occupants. These bars do this by absorbing some of that force by moving with the bumps rather than acting in opposition to them. Because they have "give," the torsion bars minimize the impact of road bumps, and the car passengers stay more comfortable.

How They Work

Torsion bars work like this: A bar is attached underneath the car and goes either lengthwise or widthwise. The bar absorbs impact because only one end of the bar is attached; the other is left free to move with the car's bumps. This means that multiple torsion bars, with opposing fixed ends, can cheaply and effectively absorb shocks. Torsion bars are just one kind of suspension system. They compete with spring systems and more sophisticated trailing arm systems.

Pros

The major pro of a torsion bar is that it is inexpensive. There really is not much to it--it's a bar mounted on metal, so it can be produced quickly and at a minimal cost, which brings the cost of the car down, too. Torsion bars' simplicity also means they're easy to maintain, and their parts can be easily replaced. They can be added to other suspension systems relatively easily. This means that they can either work on their own or complement a more sophisticated suspension system.

Cons

The major con of torsion bars is they don't work as well as other systems. This is due to their simplicity: If a suspension system isn't complex enough, it can't handle bumps as well. This means that riding in a car with a torsion bar can be less pleasant than riding in a car with another suspension system, although it's better than nothing. The other con is that cars with torsion bars don't handle as well.

About the Author

Sam Grover began writing in 2005, also having worked as a behavior therapist and teacher. His work has appeared in New Zealand publications "Critic" and "Logic," where he covered political and educational issues. Grover graduated from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Arts in history.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera luxury car - model toy car image by alma_sacra from Fotolia.com