Beware inferior suspension parts

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Truck operators are being advised to carefully select suspension components from reputable suppliers only, in order to prevent premature failure of critical parts which can cause trailer axles to become misaligned and possibly stranded along a journey.

This follows a spate of failures caused by inferior quality bushings that have made their way into the market and are being sold as “high quality” polyurethane replacement parts. This is of particular concern for the industry, as polyurethane bushings are used in heavy duty applications to protect the suspension and give truck operators the benefit of reduced service intervals and better wear life.

According to Fred Evans, suspension expert and managing director of Polyflex Seals, the country’s foremost manufacturer of polyurethane suspension parts, truck owners usually switch to polyurethane bushing and components exactly to avoid damaging trailers and becoming stranded. But in the instance of buying inferior quality alternatives they may actually get decreased life compared with even the original rubber parts.

Proven in Africa

“The only way that transport managers and fleet owners can tell if they are buying quality components is to buy quality locally manufactured parts from companies like Urethane SA, whose Polyflex-brand has been manufactured and sold in the country for nearly 30 years.

“In addition it is worth finding out whether the polyurethane parts are made from thermosetting (cast) plastics which provide far stronger bonds than the more easily manufactured and weaker thermoplastic (injection moulded) equivalents. Another way is to look for clear polyurethane parts which can be easily examined for faults and bubbles etc,” explains Fred.

He continues that in the case of Polyflex, all the components are now manufactured without colouring pigments which gives them a clear honey colour. “Our parts were previously coloured yellow and in the 4X4, trucking and motoring industry were known for their trademark yellow colouring. However, we realized that unscrupulous suppliers were using colouring pigments and translucent polymers to hide serious faults and took the decision to make ours clear so that buyers can rather see what they are buying.”

Long lasting solution

In the Southern African transport industry the use of polyurethane bushings and components are estimated to save transport companies millions of Rands in tyre wear as a result of increased service life of suspensions. A number of the major trailer manufacturers  specify Polyflex suspension components on trailers destined for heavy duty applications - where heavy loads are to be carried, roads are bad or where destinations require some dirt road travel (such as bakery and milk delivery trucks) and especially cross-border operators. 

The molecular structure of cast thermosetting polyurethane is more stable and durable and can exceed the lifespan of injection moulded products by up to double the lifespan. Considering in most cases the cost saving of thermoset products versus injection moulded alternatives is usually a mere ten-percent higher, the risk of failure could cause the loss of a load or destroy a truck’s tyres in a single trip.

“We therefore strongly advise transport manager and fleet owners to choose suspension components carefully and insist on quality transparent polyurethane parts from reputable dealers. Insist on tried and tested Polyflex parts that have been locally manufactured to meet the highest standards of quality, as well as extreme African conditions,” concludes Fred.


Urethane SA, Fred Evans, Tel: (011) 614 1014, Fax: (011) 614 9345, Email:, Web:

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