Deciding if and when to perform car maintenance or repairs is not always a clear-cut decision. It is obvious the brakes need work if they are screeching or that the windshield needs replacing if it has a long crack. What about the shocks and struts? They still wear out over time, but it may be less noticeable when they are worn out. Find out below what our panel of car enthusiasts recommends.
Melanie Musson

Melanie Musson

Melanie Musson is an automotive expert with CarInsuranceComparison.com.

Safety First

It’s understandable to hope to avoid car maintenance because of the cost it incurs, but when safety is concerned, you need to make the sacrifice.

Shocks and struts have a lifespan, and throughout their life, they wear down. The wear happens gradually, making it difficult to notice. If you could drive your car with new shocks and struts on one trip and then drive it with worn shocks and struts on the next trip, you’d notice the difference because it would feel drastic.

When the change is spread out over years, you’ll probably miss it. So, when you think your car rides great, but your mechanic tells you it needs shocks and struts, you should probably listen to them. Your shocks and struts give you stability on the road and maximize your stopping power.

Your drive will get more dangerous as your shocks and struts get to the end of their lifespan, so even if they’re not completely useless, at a certain point, they can be a safety concern.

Restore Handling and Control

The damage on shocks and struts is mostly internal and won’t be easily noticed. Its wear is gradual and slow, making it hard to become aware of. If you drive your vehicle regularly, you may be oblivious to the wear and tear the shocks and struts have. However, even if they seem to be ‘working fine’ to you, worn shocks and struts can affect your vehicle handling and tire wear.

When you replace your shocks and struts, you’ll be restoring your vehicle’s handling and control of your ride. You can also prolong the lifespan of your tires and decrease the possible wear of your car’s suspension parts.

Arnold Chapman

Arnold Chapman

Arnold Chapman, Founder & CEO of ELDFocus.com.
Matthew Roberts

Matthew Roberts

Matthew Roberts, Chief Operating Officer at My Choice.

Service Life of Shocks and Struts

The car’s shocks and struts are usually replaced when signs of an uncomfortable ride are present. The service life of these is based on various factors, including the car you have, its parts, and how you handle the vehicle. Being recommended for a replacement even though it is working fine may be based on the car’s driving mileage. Usually, a change would be recommended when reaching the 50,000 to the 75,000-mile mark. This mile mark is usually when signs of uncomfortable riding become evident, though these numbers do not mark the definite lifetime of the shocks and struts.

Four Indications That Shocks and Struts Need Replacement

Automotive shock absorbers and struts are intended to dampen suspension oscillations primarily caused by imperfections in the road surface, such as bumps or potholes. Because of wear and tear, shock absorbers will typically need to be replaced at some time during the life of the vehicle. How will you know that the shock absorbers or struts need to be replaced? Look for these signs of wear:

1. Uneven Tire Wear – If the tires are wearing unevenly, this can be a sign of suspension alignment issues. Worn shock absorbers can contribute to this issue and should be inspected by a qualified mechanic.
2. Bumpy ride – If you are encountering a harsh ride and feel that bumps are no longer being softened like they used to be, this is usually a sign of shock absorber wear.
3. Leaking Oil – If you can inspect the shock or struts visually, look for signs of oil on the shock or strut housing. It can indicate that the seals are worn and that the shocks will need replacing.
4. Bouncy Car – Push down on each of the four corners of the car. When you release the pressure, the car should return to its normal position without bouncing. A bouncy car is a sure sign of worn shocks.

Replacing worn shocks or struts is essential for the safe and comfortable operation of any vehicle. Do not ignore the signs of wear listed above.

John Kelly

John Kelly, Head of Content at Vuibo. He spent the early part of his career as a service manager and an engineer at one of the three domestic automotive manufacturers.

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