Leaking shocks and struts are a recipe for disaster.
Shocks and struts help to make your ride smooth and minimize the impact of bumps in the road. But, like all parts of your vehicle, the suspension will wear out over time and need to be serviced.
What’s the difference between shocks and struts?
Shock absorbers are mechanical or hydraulic devices that keep your 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 for 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.
Check out our article on shock and strut replacement here.
What should I do if they’re leaking?
If fluid is leaking from your shocks or struts, you’ve got a big problem on your hands. Every shock and strut contains both a piston and hydraulic fluid. When you drive over a bump or a rough stretch of road, that piston pushes against the hydraulic fluid, and the fluid absorbs the force of the piston, minimizing the impact you feel in the car’s cabin.
If this system is damaged or worn, that fluid 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. Too much leakage can cause severe damage to your suspension system—and jack up the price of your repair as additional parts begin to break.
If you’re concerned about a leaking shock or strut, check out our articles on identifying mysterious fluids and the other signs of wear. 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.
Happy Shock-tober! We’re using the entire month of October to review suspension basics, maintenance, and repair. This article was originally published in February 2018 and has been updated.