Is it time to replace your shocks and struts?

Like all parts of your vehicle, the suspension will wear out over time. Shocks and struts tend to be most susceptible to wear, especially here in New England where the winter potholes can really put your suspension to the test. The interval for shock and strut maintenance will vary depending on your vehicle’s make, model, and driving conditions. Drivers should always reference their vehicle owner’s manual for manufacturer-specific service recommendations, but here are some common signs to look for:

Visual Cues

Visual cues are usually the earliest indicators of a problem. If your tires are unevenly worn or show abnormally flat areas or if you notice fluid leakage from the shocks or struts, you should investigate the cause. If you can, check to see if the shock or strut bodies are dented (or otherwise physically damaged), and examine the bushings for corrosion or other damaged. If not, call your mechanic and ask them to take a look.

Driving Cues

Driving cues are usually the more obvious signs of a problem, but most drivers don’t notice them on them until it’s too late. Some early indicators to watch for include:

  • Excessive bouncing: If you drive over a big bump, pothole, or a patch of rough road and your vehicle continues to bounce your car may need a shock or strut replacement.
  • Front “Nose-Diving”: If the front end of your vehicle (otherwise known as the nose of your car) dives toward the ground when braking, your shocks and struts need to be replaced, or at least evaluated.
  • Rear “Squatting”: Another common sign that your shocks or struts require service is if the rear end of your vehicle “squats” toward the ground as you accelerate. Additionally, if you make a turn and the vehicle dips drastically to one side, your shocks or struts may need to be replaced.
  • Instability at High Speeds: And as it wears, the suspension may not perform as well as it originally did. You may notice less control when steering, that the car wanders slightly from side to side, increased bouncing, or “nose-diving” when braking. All of these symptoms are indicative of a serious problem.

At V&F

Well-maintained shocks and struts are critical to the overall safety and stability of your vehicle’s steering and suspension. We highly recommend having shocks and struts serviced regularly and replaced well before there is an issue. If you observe any of these symptoms while you are in your vehicle or looking under the hood, it’s time to bring your vehicle in.

Written by Nicole Palange

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