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. Here are a few signs any symptoms to watch for, so you can get ahead of any shock or strut problems:
Struts are essentially a coil spring and shock absorber all in one piece- coil springs control the bounce when you go over a bump, while shock absorbers “absorb” the energy to keep your car from bouncing non-stop. 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.
Shock and struts help keep the car steady and stable at all times – whether you are braking, accelerating, or turning – so that you can maintain complete control as you drive. 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.
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.
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.
Every shock and strut contains a piston and hydraulic fluid. When you drive over a bump or a rough stretch of road, the shocks or struts compress, the piston pushes against the hydraulic fluid, and the fluid absorbs the force of the piston. If the 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.
Shocks and Struts 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 the 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 January 2018 and has been updated.