Bouncing Around

How You Can Tell When It’s Time for New Shocks and Struts

When understanding if it’s time to replace your vehicle’s shocks or struts, it’s probably best to understand what they do. Oftentimes people are wary to replace a part on their vehicle if they don’t know the function of the part. Usually people only hear the repair estimate and decide against repairs, unfortunately by putting off important repairs, like shocks and struts, you can be setting yourself up for larger repair costs down the road.

So what do your shocks and struts do? In short, they help with ride control.

First of all, not all vehicles have both shocks and struts. Many have one or the other. Shocks are a part of your vehicle’s suspension and struts refer to the complete suspension assembly.

The large springs you see are actually absorbing the shocks you feel from the road, like bumps. The shock absorber functions to damp the springs. Without the shock absorber, your car would bounce around a little too much any time you hit a bump. They also help improve handling when making turns.

So how do you know when it’s time for new shocks or struts?

  • The front-end of your vehicle may “dive” when braking.
  • The back-end of your vehicle may “squat” when accelerating.
  • Your vehicle bounces, slides, or sways when on a rough or winding road

These are just some of the driving signs. Some of the physical signs to look for include leaks on the housing, dents on the shocks or strut body, crushed rubber bumpers from “dives” and “squats” and abnormal tire wear.

Ensuring your struts and shocks don’t need replacement is important because they are crucial for handling and cornering in your vehicle. This not only improves overall driving safety, but it can save you a lot of money over repairing serious damage. Be sure to have your shocks and struts checked by your mechanic regularly!