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What happens if I don’t replace my shocks and struts?

In Shocks and Struts by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

So you go to an auto technician, and they tell you that your shocks or struts are going bad. But what does that really mean? Why is it so crucial to fix them?

Because a lot of people don’t hear about shocks and struts often, they usually mistake them as an added component that is not crucial to their car functioning – but that’s incorrect. They are vital to keeping you on the road.

Before understanding why you need to replace your shocks or struts, it’s important to understand what they are and what they do in your car.

Shocks are pieces in the vehicle that work with springs to keep the tires in contact with the road. The shocks help to make your ride smooth and keep your tires from bouncing significantly when you’re driving on the road.

Struts are a combination piece, with a shock and a coil spring attached together. These are also part of the suspension in you vehicle that help keep it stable, moving safely and minimize bouncing when driving over bumps and uneven road.

You can read about why shocks and struts are needed in this article.

The importance of replacing shocks and struts

Now that you know what shocks and struts are, let’s talk about why they are crucial to replace. Shocks and struts wear out over time, and because of that, you’ll begin to see some impairment with your vehicle. Your drive may be bumpier, your tires may bounce, and you could hear squeaking and even see fluid leaking from your vehicle.

When you see these warning signs – it’s time to act. Having one of our certified technicians at Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire assess your vehicle when these issues begins happening will save you in the long run. Let’s talk about why.

When you have bad shocks and struts, they can’t maintain the stability in your car as well, which means you have tires that are bouncing up and down. Over time that will eat away at your tires and cause odd wear patterns and even smooth patches where the rubber has rubbed away, instead of normal standard wear patterns you would see on tires with functioning shocks and struts. The damage to your tires makes the care unsafe to drive, and you may very well end up having to pay to replace tires because of this issue.

Your brakes are impacted by bad shocks and struts too. When they’re worn out and you try to hit the brakes, your tires can actually go up into the air. While it’s only a couple of inches at the most, when your tires are not on the ground, it can be extremely dangerous. This is especially true when you’re on curves or making a turn, as your tires need to be firmly on the ground in order to make those moves in your vehicle safely. And when you’re trying to brake, you can actually lose 100 feet in braking space because of the impaired grip.

Additionally, because of that bouncing from the shocks and struts failing will also put a lot of strain on your car’s suspension system. By not doing it’s job – absorbing the shock – not having them replaced can lead to damage in the ball joints, wheel hubs, and many other components of the suspension. Without something to absorb the shock and energy of hitting a bump, it spreads throughout your car and will lead to damage. The repairs can be costly for suspension work – so by not replacing your shocks and struts at Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire, you will end up with not only a potentially unsafe vehicle, but potentially one that doesn’t drive at all.

The most important risk you need to know about when it comes to replacing your shocks and struts is safety related. You and the ones you love are often in your vehicle. When you are driving with failing shocks and struts, the handling, control and safety of your vehicle are seriously impaired. Continuing to drive with worn out shocks and struts could lead to you getting into an accident that hurts you and your vehicle – and potentially some else’s car.

We acknowledge that sometimes shocks and struts can be expensive, but they are a crucial piece of your vehicle. By working with the certified technicians at Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire, we will ensure that your vehicle is safe to use and help you get back out on the road.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Goodyear tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including BMW and Mercedes. Services include oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

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Why shocks and struts are needed

In Shocks and Struts by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Every time your car hits a bump or a dip, it bounces.

Shocks and struts, which are part of the suspension, prevent it from continuing to do that as it travels down the road.

While working on a 2000 BMW, Brian noticed wetness around the shock and realized the shocks and struts were original to the car.

Rust had also built up on the shock.

The shocks and struts set up for each vehicle varies. 

Most have a strut assembly — which is a shock and a spring combined — in the front. A lot of cars can have a strut or just a shock separately in the back.

The assembly connects to the car and the front wheels. The part that links with the wheels must be able to pivot as you turn.

There are a few signs you may notice when the shocks and struts need to be replaced.

They include a car making squeaking sounds or irregular tire wear patterns.

Another reason why you should replace your shocks and struts is it helps keep the tires in contact with the road, especially during an emergency situation when you want to have as much traction and control of the vehicle as possible.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Goodyear tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including BMW and Mercedes. Services include oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

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 they 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.