Winter’s over: it’s time to replace your shocks and struts

In Maintenance, Promotions, Shocks and Struts by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Winter’s over: it’s time to replace your shocks and struts

Cars and trucks with high mileage can have worn out shocks and struts and show no signs of leaking

We made through a pretty bad winter, with a blizzard, ice, and variable temperatures, and we’re sure you’re looking forward to the warmer weather as much as we are. But now that the winter weather has subsided, we’re left with sizeable potholes, and the damage that the winter inflicted on our cars.

One of the important services you should consider as we move into the warmer months is replacing your shocks and struts. Here are five signs that your shocks and struts are due to be inspected and replaced that you should be on the lookout for.

Your vehicle’s handling is off.

If you’re on your morning commute or off running some errands and you notice that your car isn’t handling like it used to, and it’s got more bounce or a rougher ride than normal, that’s a sign that your shocks and struts are worn down.

Winter’s over: it’s time to replace your shocks and struts

Replacing the struts on a vehicle can improve handling

You’re going in for a nose dive.

When you’re braking, turning, or speeding up you should always be able to maintain control of your vehicle – in large part because of the shocks and struts in your car. But if you’re noticing that the ‘nose’ or front of your car is starting to dive, especially when you’re applying the brakes, then that’s a good sign that your shocks and struts need replacing.

Your tires have patches.

Shock and strut wear can impact your tires, and uneven wear is a good visual sign that they’re worn out and need to be replaced. When shocks and struts wear out, your tire will bounce more frequently and hit the ground, losing rubber in the process – which is called cupping. You’ll often find that when shocks and struts need to be replaced, your tires will show uneven wear and smooth patches.

The car is making squeaking sounds.

Winter’s over: it’s time to replace your shocks and struts

Worn suspension components like shocks and struts can cause premature tire wear

If you drive over a bump or pothole in the road, are you hearing loud squeaking noises coming from the suspension? Or when you’re getting out of your vehicle or braking? Then that’s another possible sign that your shocks and struts are in need of inspection, replacement, or repair.

Your car has more than 50,000 miles on it.

At our shop we follow guidance from the Motorist Assurance Program that recommends that drivers replace their shocks and struts after 50,000 miles. There’s some variance on mileage before its necessary, based on the type of car and road conditions, but if your car is over 50,000 miles and you’re experiencing some of the other issues we’ve mentioned, then it may be time to swap out those shocks and struts.

To get the spring and summer started off right, we’re offering a special at the shop, where you can get your shocks and struts inspected and replaced for only $20 over cost. To take advantage of this deal, bring this coupon to us to redeem the special pricing, good through April 30, 2016.

Winter’s over: it’s time to replace your shocks and struts

Why did the repair facility advise me to replace my shocks/struts? I only have “X” amount of miles on my car!

In Girl in a Mechanics World, Shocks and Struts by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Written by Teresa Anderson – service writer for Steve’s Auto Repair and Tire

Shocks and struts are not something most people think about wearing out, like they do with tires. They’re not as visible for drivers, and they don’t wear out as fast, or need frequent maintenance, like oil changes.

Why did the repair facility advise me to replace my shocks/struts?

Worn Strut Assemblies from a Toyota Tundra. The struts work with the coil springs.

Why did the repair facility advise me to replace my shocks/struts?

Shock starting to leak oil. This can cause tire wear and a longer braking distance.

Shocks and struts are important because they stabilize your vehicle and keep your car from bouncing when you drive over rough road. Think about how many bumps and potholes there are in the road. Think about the rough pavement and rocks that you drive over every single time you get into your car to go somewhere. This is what wears out your shocks and struts, and this is why when a car professional recommends replacing them, you should take them seriously.

To understand the seriousness of replacing shocks and struts, it’s important to understand what can happen if you’re driving around with a set that are worn out.

The job of your shocks and struts is not to keep the car up as most people conceive, it’s to minimize bouncing – which can really damage your car’s tires and suspension. And if your shocks and struts are worn out, and lead to an impaired suspension system in your car – this can have a serious consequence. Bad suspension can also wreak havoc on your brake system.  It can lengthen your stopping distance because the car is lunging forward with the weight of the vehicle putting more pressure on your brakes, causing them to wear out faster. And this could also lead you to get into an accident because of impaired handling and brake time.

Can you visibly see worn shocks and struts? Well…sometimes you can and sometimes you can’t. And for many drivers , it can be a challenge to determine when it’s time to commit to replacing your shocks and struts

Why did the repair facility advise me to replace my shocks/struts?

Worn shocks, the one on the top is starting to seep oil. (see dark spot in the middle .

Most manufacturers recommend replacement every 50,000 miles. Consider manufacturer’s recommendations, because after 50,000 miles they have definitely carried a lot of weight, gone quite a distance and are no longer performing as that should be, but a technician will be able to tell you for sure.

Looking for an easy way to determine if your shocks and struts are wearing out? The best way to tell if they are not performing the way they should is to do the bounce test.  Push down on the trunk of the car and the front of the car  and see how quickly it bounces back.  If it’s bouncy, the shocks are wearing out, if it returns slowly, they are most likely fine.

Why did the repair facility advise me to replace my shocks/struts?

Mercedes wheel bent from hitting a pothole also effects the shocks and struts

It should just bounce about 1 and ½ times and that should be it.  If you are getting more than than that, the suspension is failing. Mileage – including the 50,000 mile recommendation – doesn’t always mean that you have to replace them.  I’ve seen certain vehicles that are notorious for needing them replaced as early as 40,000 miles!  I know that may not be what you want to hear, especially since it means it will cost you money, but it’s necessary to keep your car running safely on the road.

The first thing a auto technician would do is inspect the condition of the suspension.  If they can see the fluid seeping out of the shocks, then they are weak because the fluid is coming out and it’s definitely time to consider replacement.

Why did the repair facility advise me to replace my shocks/struts?

strut from the front of a mini van

Even though they may not be leaking, it still may be time to replace them.  A technician can tell by looking at a few different things, and they will be able to guide you on what to do to get your vehicle working safely.