Double Wishbone Suspension Explained


Is It the Best Available Car Suspension System?

Car suspension systems are much more complicated than most people think. The amount of engineering and science that goes into designing an efficient suspension setup is impressive. Over the years, there have been several different designs that stood out as particularly effective at providing a good grip while reducing the vibrations from road imperfections.

Double wishbone suspension is among the most popular ones. Today we’ll try to explain the pros and cons of double wishbone suspension and why this is still one of the best ways to keep the car firmly on the road.

What is a Double Wishbone Suspension?

Invented in the 1930s, a double wishbone system was one of the first independent suspension systems to be adopted across the automotive industry. The idea behind this system was quite simple – create an independent system with two control arms mounted one above the other. 

The reason why we call this type of setup “double wishbone” is due to the shape of the control arms that look like wishbones. Alternatively, these are also known as “A” control arms.

This type of suspension allows for more independence since each wheel is connected to the frame as a separate unit. Granted, this is not the only type of independent suspension out there, but it’s among the most efficient ones, and here’s why.

What is a Double Wishbone Suspension?

Advantages of a Double Wishbone System

There’s a reason why double wishbone design has stuck around for such a long time. It all has to do with how a car behaves in a corner. 

As we all know, there’s always going to be some amount of body roll when you enter a corner. Let’s take a car navigating a left-hand corner as an example. As the car moves through the corner, the body of the vehicle is going to roll slightly to the right, loading the suspension on that side of the vehicle.

That body roll will affect the wheel grip during cornering as the camber becomes a factor. If you get too much positive camber on the outside wheels, you’ll run into poor grip issues. 

Double wishbones, especially a modern system with a shorter upper control arms, solves this issue. Instead of positive camber on the outside set of wheels, you’re getting slight negative camber. The result is a better grip all around.

Another obvious advantage of a double wishbone setup is the level of fine-tuning that can be done to it. By having two massive control arms connecting the wheel to the frame, there’s plenty of room to design an efficient shock absorber setup. Various car brands use different systems. Some run coilovers while others feature separate shock and spring setups. 

Suspension Control Arm Kit - Front Lower Rearward (Driver and Passenger Side)
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Disadvantages and Why Quality Components Matter

One of the main problems with a double wishbone setup is its sheer complexity. Compared to most other types of independent suspension, double wishbone setups are complex. As you probably know, complexity in the automotive world often means higher maintenance and replacement costs.

Because of this, it’s generally recommended that you use only OEM parts and stick to brands that have a proven track record when it comes to quality. As far as suspension component manufacturers go, Sidem is one such brand that stands out.

Sidem Wishbones and Suspension Components

Sidem Wishbones and Suspension Components

Sidem is one of the leading suspension and steering component manufacturers in Europe. The company has a long history of building quality parts for a variety of European car brands. The reason why Sidem stands out is the fact that they specialize in manufacturing suspension and steering components to the point of mastery.

Each Sidem part has been designed with long term performance in mind. This brand uses advanced testing techniques on all parts, including wishbones, which ensures that every component that leaves Sidem’s factory meets their strict quality standards.

The team at Sidem is constantly working on innovating both designs and materials, thus improving the overall performance of OE suspension systems

Sidem’s control arms are made using high-quality materials that improve wear resistance and ensure optimal performance under all conditions. Everything from the bushings to the hardware used to mount the wishbones to the frame is built to withstand years of frequent use.

Suspension Control Arm Kit - Rear Upper (Driver and Passenger Side) (with Trailing Arms)
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Double Wishbone VS MacPherson – Which One is Better?  

MacPherson struts are the ying to double wishbone’s yang. These two systems are often observed as polar opposites, even though they share the same roots. With that said, the MacPherson strut setup brings a whole different set of benefits.

For starters, it leaves much more room for a driveshaft compared to a double control arm setup. With wishbones, you’re looking at a possible coilover or a shock being in the way depending on the exact setup. This is why MacPherson struts are often found on FWD cars. 

Additionally, MacPherson struts are much cheaper to produce as there are fewer components and moving parts to think about.  

Where MacPherson falls short is camber. When you corner in a car fitted with MacPherson struts, the body roll of the car is resulting in a minimal camber change. As a result, you’re looking at poor tire grip and suboptimal contact with the road during cornering.

Overall, each of these systems is optimized for different applications. The double control arm or wishbone systems are often found in performance-oriented cars as well as vehicles where a high amount of suspension travel is important. On the other hand, MacPherson struts are great for front-wheel drive applications and more balanced use.

Suspension Strut Assembly Kit - Front Driver and Passenger Side
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Summary

Whether you have a double wishbone or a MacPherson strut system on your car, it’s essential to practice proper maintenance.  

Components within these systems will need to be replaced over time. When that time comes, make sure that you’re using quality parts. Your suspension system is not something to cheap out on.  

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