Signs You Need to Replace Your Cars Shocks

Signs You Need to Replace Your Cars Shocks

Posted on February 15, 2018

Signs You Need to Replace Your Cars Shocks

It can be easy to see when your car needs certain things. You know you need to air up your tires when they look flat. You know you need to get an oil change when your oil change indicator light comes on. You know you need to replace your brake pads when you first begin to the hear the squeal indicator as you engage your braking system. Other, less visible parts of your vehicle can be less easy to diagnose. For example, your vehicles suspension system is beneath the car and not readily visible. This being the case, how do you know when your shock absorbers need to be replaced?

These are critical components of the suspension system of you vehicle. The purpose of car shock absorbers is to literally absorb shock, or keep your vehicle from bouncing violently when it travels across uneven or bumpy terrain. The struts are structural supports which are connected directly to the chassis of your vehicle. These parts work together to help your vehicle maintain its strength and provide you with a comfortable ride. The shocks and struts also prevent damage from occurring when you hit a bump too fast or when you simply cannot avoid that pesky pothole. When your shock absorbers and your struts need to be replaced, they have certain ways of letting you know.

shock absorbers

The easiest way to ensure that your car shock absorbers are in good shape is to have them regularly inspected. Most automotive service and repair centers can conduct a comprehensive vehicle inspection which will include a detailed look through your suspension. A good rule of thumb for this is to ask for an inspection at the time of every oil change. Since your vehicle is being serviced at this time anyhow, it is a good idea to have a professional give everything an expert look so they can let you know if any parts are currently in need of attention.

If your shocks are in need of attention in between inspections, there will be some indication of their impending failure. The first noticeable sign is a bumpy ride on a vehicle that used to handle smoothly. A bumpy ride indicates that your shocks are not performing properly and no longer absorbing the shock of the road as they once did. If you experience new bumpiness or shakiness then it is likely your shocks and struts are the source of the issue.

Another sign that your shocks are in need of replacing is problems with steering. If you begin to notice increasingly poor steering response, this could be caused by a failing suspension system. The wheel may become stiff and difficult to turn. There may also be new noises coming from your car as you steer such as grinding. Additionally, you might also find that your car no longer tracks straight and tends to drift to one side or the other, requiring constant correcting in order to maintain a forward direction.

Braking issues are often blamed directly on the brake pads themselves. If your brake pads have been regularly serviced and you do not hear a squeal indicator, it is likely that issues in the suspension are to blame. When your shocks or struts are damaged or very worn, the vehicle must compensate in other ways, and this can translate to poor braking as well as a sort of “nose dive” wherein the front end of the car will dip sharply downward when the brakes are engaged. These signs all point to a failure of critical suspension parts rather than the brake pads.

Your tires can also indicate issues with suspension. If you begin to notice uneven wear on the surface of your tires, your suspension could be to blame. This is called cupping and it occurs when cup-shaped dips and divots develop in the tread of the tires. It is important to note that tires which have undergone cupping can be extremely dangerous and cause accidents due to uneven loss of traction during a maneuver. Even if cupping cannot be visibly seen, it is a good idea to have your tires rotated at the same time that you have your shocks or struts replaced.

Paying attention to your vehicle’s mileage can also help you notice issues with your suspension. As a general rule, shocks and struts need to be either serviced or replaced every fifty thousand miles. If you vehicle has over fifty thousand miles on it and has never had the suspension system serviced, it is a good idea to make an appointment with your trusted mechanic to inspect this critical system.

Everything on a vehicle is connected, and so a damaged part in one system of your car can lead to damage on other parts which you may not expect. Ensuring that your shock,struts and other suspension components are properly maintained will not only help you stay safe, but it will also help you extend the life of your vehicle.

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