What is a shock or strut? It's a hydraulic stabilizer...it keeps the tire in contact with the road and dampens or stills the car body after going over a bump. If your car is like a big, rubber ball bouncing down the road you're probably dealing with bad shocks.
Shocks and struts smooth the ride and keep your tires in contact with road. CONTROL = SAFETY.
How often do shocks go bad?
Every 50-60,000 miles, when hydraulic oil leaks out or when the seals rupture.
What are the effects from bad shocks or struts? The tire looses its ability to maintain maximum contact with the road, causing:
- Up to 50% loss in braking capacity (stop in 200 feet instead of 100 feet)
- Loss of stability and control in turns
- Excessive tire wear (cupping or chopping)
- Vibration and noises
- Excessive wear and damage to other suspension and steering parts
- Structural damage to the frame, strut towers or perches
How do you know if you really need shocks or struts? First and foremost, get an evaluation by an ASE Certified Tech. They're the best judge of what your car does and does not need. Other ways of determining are if your car:
- Has excessive bounce
- Has excessive roll or sway on turns
- Bottoms out over larger bumps (with a thump)
- Has over 60k miles driven
You may also want to have your shocks or struts inspected if you tow a trailer, drive a 4x4 off-road (or on harsh roads), or if you notice that your car is leaking fluids...your struts or shocks may need repair because of a loss of hydraulic action or a seal failure.