When Should I Replace My Shocks and Struts?

How can you tell if its time to replace your shocks and struts?

Shocks and Struts aren’t usually the most recognizable of issues. The purpose of these mechanisms is to stabilize your vehicle and absorb or “dampen” the amount of movement your vehicle experiences when hitting bumps. When you consider rough roads with potholes, bumps, rocks and uneven pavement do you ever consider how you’re not slamming your head into the roof of your vehicle? Probably not. That’s because most people don’t really ever consider their shocks and struts as being necessary for safety on the road.

There are ways to tell if your shocks and struts are in need of replacement. The most obvious is excessive bouncing even with the littlest of bumps. At first the bouncing may not be all that distracting to your driving, but it can really damage your tires and suspension.

Once this happens, it becomes a domino effect to your braking system. You may notice that you’re jolting forward at stops, or that its taking longer to stop. This happens because once your suspension has been affected by worn out shocks and struts, more weight is added to your brakes. You run the risk of having or causing an accident because of impaired handling of the vehicle and slow brake time.

If you’re looking for some easy telltale signs of worn out shocks and struts there are a few of methods:

  1. The “Bounce Test”- Push down on each corner of your vehicle and pay attention to how quickly it bounces back. If it seems to continue bouncing, then it may be time to see an auto repair shop. If it returns slowly, you should be in the clear.
  2. The Fluid Check- If you notice fluid seeping from the shocks, thats an indication that they are weak.
  3. Steering Check- If you’re noticing that its harder to turn the wheel or you feel swaying on the road, shocks and struts could be the culprit.

It is recommended by most manufacturers to replace your shocks and struts every 50,000 miles. If you’re experiencing any of these issues, bring your vehicle into our repair shop and we will inspect the issues for you.

Having Problems with Your Shocks & Struts?


How to Know When to Replace Your Shocks & Struts

The shocks and struts in your vehicle are part of your suspension system. Your suspension’s job is to maximize the friction between the road’s surface and your tires. This provides stability when you’re steering. If the road were flat with no inconsistencies at all, a suspension system wouldn’t be necessary. These irregularities in the road apply forces to your wheels. Without a suspension system, your car would lose contact with the road completely when faced with an irregularity in the road. Your suspension is made up of many parts, but your shocks and struts in particular absorb the energy and force to give you a smoother ride. It also ensures good handling and comfort for you and your passengers. So, it should be obvious when you need to replace your shocks and struts, right? Not necessarily. Here are some signs to look out for:

• Poor steering response with noise or stiffness when steering
• Experiencing a “nose dive” or instability when applying the brakes
• Vehicle swaying or leaning on turns or when changing lanes
• Excessive vehicle “bounce”

There are other visual signs that you can look out for, such as:
• Dented or generally damaged looking shock or strut bodies
• Fluid leaks from your shocks or struts
• Uneven, cupped tire wear
• Damaged, corroded or broken mounts or bushings

If you experience a generally bumpy or uncomfortable ride, poor steering response, noise or stiffness when steering, instability upon braking or vehicle swaying you definitely need new struts or shocks. Testing has also shown that generally vehicles will need these parts replaced around 50,000 miles. If you’re still not sure, check for the visual signs. But don’t delay in getting a repair. It’s the kind of job that can’t wait. If you think you need new suspension parts, come on in to Courthouse Automotive and we’ll give you an honest quote.