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Auto Repair Basics :: How Often Should I Replace the Shocks and Struts?

Almost every time I walk into a car repair shop, I see advertisements about shocks and struts. Some mechanic shops will tell you that those are necessary for your safety, and other will tell you it gives you a smoother ride and the most comforting drive on uneven roads. But the question is, do you need to invest in changing them, and if at all, how would it hurt you.

If you continue to drive on your worn out shocks and struts, you are necessarily putting yourself at risk of creating a driving hazard, however, statistical and physical studies have concluded that worn shock increase the stopping distance for a car driving on a rough surface. So, if you were someone that wants to keep their car in perfect driving condition, changing the struts and shocks is a must.

Think of this for a moment, without shocks or struts what takes the shock? Answer – the suspension, the driver and passengers, and everything pretty much everything the vehicle is constructed. If your struts or shocks are worn means the costly suspension parts such as tie rods, center links, ball joints bearings, and on – will wear out quickly. Thus, most expensive parts ware out by not replacing the shocks and struts. Most important is the safety to keep the tires tightly to the road.

Leaking Shock or Strut

Different manufacturers suggest different odometer readings for changing them. However, after detailed interviewing with my network of trusted auto repair technicians and mechanics, I came to the conclusion that it is almost impossible to a certain point in the car’s life that the struts and shocks are to be replaced. Reason depends on how you drive your car or truck. Some factory shocks may show aging signs or fluid leaks, after only 30,000 or 40,000 miles. Struts usually last around 50,000 or 60,000 miles. Shocks and struts do not require replacing at specific mileage intervals like filters or spark plugs. This is simply because the damping characteristics of the parts gradually deteriorates over time. And since you are driving the car pretty much every day, the decline in the quality of the drive is going to happen without you noticing.

Would you like to know if you need to change those parts without going to a mechanic?? A preliminary way of testing “bounce test”. This is where you would rock and release the bumper or the body. If the cars continues to gyrate more than one or two times then the parts are aging, and it’s time to replace them. You can also diagnose the parts by answering the following questions:

  • When driving on rough roads, does the car excessively bounce?
  • After hitting a bump, does the car excessively bounce?
  • Does the body sway excessively when cornering or driving in crosswinds?
  • Does the nose dip when braking?
  • When backing out of the driveway, does the suspension bottom out?
  • When hauling extra passengers or weight does the suspension bottom out?

Replacing shocks and strutsIf you answered yes to more than one question, then the change is due. Remember, by not changing the parts you are necessarily putting yourself at risk of creating a driving hazard. Spend the money only if you were someone that wants to keep their car in perfect driving condition, how often do you change the struts and shocks? Auto Repair will help you every step of the way finding the correct shocks and struts for your car or truck, as well as help you replace your shocks, struts, coil springs, and front end parts.

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Posted by Erin Moloney | on