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Coming from a newbie:

I do notice that my Smart takes in every hole and bump on the road and boy do I feel in in my behind. Tiny wheels and not sure how good of a suspension it has, so I now drive in zig-zags trying to avoid every little hole on the road. Am I paranoid? Can this little beast take those small bumps? How is the suspension on these 42s in general? Should I expect to maintain and service it?

Thanks.

2013 Passion, 10K miles now.
 

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My '13 Passion has 16k miles and it has survived the usual holes and bumps just fine. Major potholes can damage rims - as has been testified to on the forum. Smart isn't alone with this problem. The smart does have 15" rims, which was considered fine a number of years ago before the fad of large diameter rims and low profile tires. Our low profile tires don't absorb much of the shock, transmitting it instead to the suspension and body.
 

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Stock suspension on these cars is built to a price, and it shows. Front springs are very soft - you can compress them by hand! - and the dampers don't have very good valving, and there isn't much suspension travel. You might expect soft springing and weak damping to lead to a soft ride ... but noooo, it leads to the bumps blowing through the suspension travel and making it hit the bump stops. And that's on top of what the rock-hard Continental ContiProContact "tires" (hockey pucks) do.

I haven't tried a car with the Brabus suspension but I expect that it is still cheaply made.

I replaced the whole deal with a Bilstein B14 coil-over kit plus four rear OEM 15x6.5 rims with Falken tires. It's still a firm-riding car, but at least it isn't smashing into the bump stops all the time, and roadholding is much better. It feels like the way it should have been from day one.
 

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If I can avoid holes and bumps in the road safely I do the same thing, steer around them. I wouldn't step into a hole in the sidewalk, or ride my bike through a pothole if I can avoid it, so I try not to hit them with the car either.

Some people drive their cars, other people aim them.
 

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I'm over 158K on my smart right now. I just went through the suspension a couple of weeks ago looking for issues like worn ball joints, loose tie rods, etc. I didn't find anything other than the right front strut has just a little play at full extension. Not sure if it's an issue, or just the way they are?

Anyway, I'm very please with the overall durability of the smart in my experience.

As Snydermann pointed out above, I try to avoid all of them I can. Some people just blindly point their cars, and hit what they hit...
 

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Springs on the 450 would break if you looked at them wrong. Can't say that I have read of too many spring failures in the 451.
 

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Ya I'm at 100000km and all 4 shocks are leaking. I try to avoid pot holes and slow for tracks but I don't know how the previous owner drove it. Like most here will tell ya the ride is greatly improved juts buy ditching the oem tire set up and running 195/50 185/55 or 185/60 on all 4 corners. I found it was the front that took it the hardest with the narrow fronts falling into every crack on the road.
 

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Tell me more about what some are you are calling the "cheap" suspension. For example who are the manufacturers of the shocks and other suspension components? Those of you who have replaced them may know. I'd be a little surprised if things are done too much on the cheap since Mercedes took over. For example shocks on Mercedes are typically Sachs or Bilsteins. Is that not the case with the Smart? I'd be very disappointed and surprised if cheap Chinese junk was being installed. Once any car hits 100,000 miles and/or ten years, it's getting close to the time when parts need to be replaced.
 

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Tell me more about what some are you are calling the "cheap" suspension. For example who are the manufacturers of the shocks and other suspension components? Those of you who have replaced them may know. I'd be a little surprised if things are done too much on the cheap since Mercedes took over. For example shocks on Mercedes are typically Sachs or Bilsteins. Is that not the case with the Smart? I'd be very disappointed and surprised if cheap Chinese junk was being installed. Once any car hits 100,000 miles and/or ten years, it's getting close to the time when parts need to be replaced.
Well, I'm sure I've read somewhere that Bilstein is OEM. I know they are the only aftermarket available for the smart.
 

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Springs on the 450 would break if you looked at them wrong. Can't say that I have read of too many spring failures in the 451.
Both front springs on my 2008 pure are now broken at the first coil (from the top). I have stock replacements waiting to be installed.
 

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Not necessarily defending Mercedes/Smart, but Bilsteins are certainly not cheap shocks. There is not another shock manufacturer that I would prefer over Bilstein. As for springs breaking, there have been some issues with the springs on some Mercedes sedans too a few years ago.

As an FYI Bilsteins are guaranteed for life beginning with the first replacement set, so save those receipts when you replace them.

Len
 

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I changed to larger tires, and to a different brand (generals) it made big difference in handling bumps and potholes on the road.
 

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6 years of zig zaging on down the road. On RR crossings I take them straight on and swerve into them if necessary per MC rider rules. LOL

Tis a rough riding little car. :shrug: A2Jack
 

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Avoid potholes as required, since there's plenty of weave room for a smart in the typical street lane I do a lot of zig-zagging. I came up with a rear window sticker that reads "I'm not drunk... I'm avoiding potholes." 0:)
 

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I changed to larger tires, and to a different brand (generals) it made big difference in handling bumps and potholes on the road.
I always try to avoid potholes :)

I too have gone with the Generals...I went with the Altimax RT43 185/60/15 and it makes a BIG difference :D
 

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Tell me more about what some are you are calling the "cheap" suspension. For example who are the manufacturers of the shocks and other suspension components? Those of you who have replaced them may know. I'd be a little surprised if things are done too much on the cheap since Mercedes took over. For example shocks on Mercedes are typically Sachs or Bilsteins. Is that not the case with the Smart? I'd be very disappointed and surprised if cheap Chinese junk was being installed. Once any car hits 100,000 miles and/or ten years, it's getting close to the time when parts need to be replaced.
There is a big difference between a Bilstein OEM damper and a Bilstein high-end replacement damper. Just because it has the same name on it doesn't mean they're the same inside.

Car manufacturer: "We will pay $X per damper (a very cheap price) and not one penny more, and it has to meet these bare minimum criteria." Usually the person buying aftermarket replacements is willing to pay more in order to get (hopefully) better quality components.

Internal shim stacks (determines high-speed versus low-speed damping characteristics) get simplified, the construction gets simplified to the bare bones, etc. Anything that can be done to cut costs in order to not lose money at the auto manufacturer's price point, gets done.

BILSTEIN B14

I still have the stock take-off components. It's ridiculous how little damping the front struts have ...
 

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I have to disagree. If you replace a Bilstein shock with another Bilstein using the original part number, you're going to get the same shock that came on your car. You can also take the Bilstein part number off of your original shock and go out in the aftermarket and buy one and IMO it will be the same as what came on the car originally. If Bilstein guarantees that second shock for life, it doesn't make sense to make a crappy replacement. I would be very interested in some actual proof of your statement.
 

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Who said all Bilstein struts meant for installation on (say) the front of a smart have the same part number? And who said anything about ordering suspension parts at the dealer??

Yes, if you order a replacement front strut at the dealer you are going to get the same built-to-a-price piece of junk that came with the car. Yes, if you cross over that part number to the aftermarket you are STILL going to get the same piece of junk. So DON'T buy the OEM replacement.

The Bilstein front strut that you get when you order one at the dealer is MOST CERTAINLY NOT the same front strut that comes as part of the B14 coil-over suspension kit!

For one thing, the strut meant for coil-overs has a threaded section for the spring perch as opposed to a spring perch welded in place ... and for another, you can tell just by compressing the strut by hand that the one meant for the coil-over kit has different damping characteristics.
 

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I had to replace one sway bar link a few years ago. That was a $42 repair that took 2 hours. Otherwise, still going along just fine.
 
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