Here’s a bit of sad news. Those shocks or struts that give your vehicle such a smooth ride? Eventually they’re going to wear out. It’s inevitable; after holding up thousands of pounds of metal day after day, year after year, the shocks can only last so long.
The thing is, when they do wear out, it’s going to affect more than just the comfortable ride—it’s going to affect your car’s safety, as well. When your vehicle’s suspension system goes bad, your tires wear out more quickly, your car takes longer to stop, and you can lose stability on tight turns, increasing your chances of a rollover.
When shocks or struts start to fail, you can keep your car running safely and smoothly by having them replaced at your trusted automotive repair shop. How can you tell when the shocks are going bad? Here are seven ways to tell.
1. Check the odometer
Most manufacturers recommend shock/strut replacement every 50,000 miles or so, regardless whether they’re showing signs of wear. Check your owner’s manual to find out what your vehicle manufacturer recommends for suspension service. This is the best way to ensure a safe and comfortable ride.
2. Rough ride
One obvious way to tell the suspension needs work is if the vehicle is riding with increasing roughness. If you start to feel every bump in the road or notice a bouncing motion every time you hit a bump, these are signs the shocks or struts are wearing out.
3. The “nose dive”
You may notice the front end of the car dipping or lurching when you put on the brakes. This is a sure sign that the shocks aren’t “holding up their end” the way they should. Time to take the car in to have the suspension checked.
4. Drifting or swaying when turning
Do you feel the car drifting a bit during turns, or do you feel a stronger swaying or rocking motion when turning? This usually means the shocks are having trouble stabilizing the vehicle against the centrifugal force of the turn—a sign they are wearing out.
5. Visible damage or leaking
You can often see visible signs of wear on the shocks or struts themselves. Look underneath the vehicle at the shocks; if they are oily, they are probably leaking fluid. If they appear dented or otherwise damaged, they are likely not doing their job well. Either way, it’s time to have them looked at.
6. Uneven tire wear
In normal conditions, the tread on your tires should wear down at about the same rate. Uneven tire wear means the weight is not being distributed properly. Several things can cause this, but bad suspension is a common culprit.
7. Bouncing the car
One quick way to check your shocks is with the “bounce test.” Push down on the front and rear of the car with your full weight, then release and watch how the car body bounces or rocks on the shocks. If the bouncing continues more than 2-3 times on either front or rear of the car, the shocks are likely wearing out.
For quality expert auto repair in Mukilteo, Classic Motorsports is ValueStar certified for excellent customer service, and they specialize in servicing British and German vehicles as well as domestic models. For expert advice on shock or strut repair, they can be reached at 425-329-3246—and be sure to look at their online specials for extra savings.
Quality Auto Service and Repair in Mukilteo, WA
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