What To Do About Leaking Shocks and Struts

Shocks and struts are crucial to a smooth ride but, like all parts of your vehicle, the suspension will wear out over time.

Shocks and Struts: The Basics

In case you missed our articles on a shock and strut replacement, let’s review the basics. Shock absorbers are mechanical or hydraulic devices that keep your the car from bouncing as you drive over rough or bumpy roads. Struts, on the other hand, are a structural part of the suspension system that provide a mount the coil spring (which maintains the height of the vehicle). Shock absorbers usually give you better handling, while struts give you a lower initial cost for the vehicle.

Leaking Fluid

If fluid is leaking from your shocks or struts, you’ve got a big problem on your hands. Every shock and strut contains a piston with hydraulic fluid. When you drive over a bump or a rough stretch of road, the shocks or struts compress the piston. The piston then pushes against the hydraulic fluid and the fluid absorbs the force– which helps your ride to feel relatively smooth even if if your car hits a bump.

If any part in this system is damaged or worn, that fluid that can leak out of the shock or strut. A little leakage is perfectly normal, but if the strut looks wet and oily that’s cause for concern.

If you notice a leaking shock or strut on your vehicle, check out our articles on identifying mysterious fluids and the other signs of wear.

How will I know if there’s a problem?

It’s important to get a feel for how your vehicle handles so you can easily detect any changes in the handling– changes that could indicate a problem. Taking a quick “test drive” every couple of months will allow you to feel for problems on a wide range of driving conditions. Be sure to include cornering both left and right, hitting a few moderate bumps, and cruising on straight and level ground, both while braking and accelerating. These are all important factors to help you get a feel for any noises or performance issues related to the shocks, struts, and control arm assemblies. You can also perform a visual inspection, if you’re comfortable doing so, or have a mechanic inspect them for you.

If you notice any changes in handling, comfort, or appearance you should see your mechanic as soon as possible.

At V&F

In general, a damaged suspension part will need to be repaired or replaced before your car can be driven. Our expert mechanics use latest diagnostic equipment, and high quality CARQUEST auto parts, to get your brakes back in shape. Plus, our auto repair services are backed by an industry-leading 3 year / 36,000 mile warranty on parts and labor. Call us today at (413) 314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.

Written by Nicole Palange

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