Here are 5 ways to know if your shocks and/or struts need to be replaced. But, before we get into some of these common signs of worn out or broken shocks and struts, let’s take a quick look at the function of these parts and the difference between shocks and struts.
What exactly do your shocks and struts do for your car?
Your vehicle’s shocks and struts maintain your car, truck or SUVs body suspended above the wheels and correctly positioned off the ground while you drive, making your experience comfortable. When someone has worn out shocks and struts, they bounce as they go down the road, making any drive both unsafe and uncomfortable for all riders. Shocks and struts absorb the vertical movement of your vehicle into energy every time a bump or pothole is hit when driving. When they wear down, control of the car’s stability can be lost, and the car takes more braking power and longer to stop. This will create additional wear and tear on your braking system and other parts of the car. “Having shocks and struts that are in good working order is important for both your safety and comfort,” explains master mechanic and third generation owner Chad Schnitzler of Bill's Auto Service and Towing in Blue Ash, located near the city of Montgomery, Ohio.
Does my vehicle have shocks or does it have struts?
Every one of your vehicle wheels has either a shock or strut. While they could be the same for all wheels on your car or truck, you could have shocks on the front and struts on the back, or vice versa. There is one or the other on each of your wheels. Shocks and struts are usually referred to together, but they each are a separate part with distinct functionality. Shocks are individual components of the suspension system while struts are a major structural component of the chassis and suspension system.
The purpose of a car’s shocks, or shock absorber, is to control the spring and suspension movement of the vehicle. This happens when your shocks turn kinetic energy of the vehicle’s suspension movement into thermal energy, and then it is dissipated through the hydraulic fluid.
The strut is a damper used on the independent suspension of many vehicles on the market today, and is essentially part of your vehicle’s suspension. Struts perform two main jobs. First, struts perform a damping function like shock absorbers. And internally, a strut is like a shock absorber. A piston is attached to the end of the piston rod and works against hydraulic fluid to control spring and suspension movement. And just like shock absorbers, this portion of the strut is sensitive to velocity. The second job struts perform is different from the shocks. Struts provide structural support for your car truck or SUV suspension, support the spring, and hold the tire in an aligned position.
5 Signs your Shocks and Struts need to be replaced
- You are noticing your vehicle is not stable at faster speeds. When you drive on the highways you feel your car bouncing up and down, or when you turn a corner your car feels like it is leaning or tipping to one side.
- When you brake, your car truck or SUV tends to lean forward, making you brake harder or sooner than you normally would.
- Your tires bounce for an extended time after hitting a bump or pothole and you can feel or hear a noise of metal hitting together. Your tires may also show odd wear patterns that are not consistent across all four tires.
- Your car is lifting up in the front and dipping down in the back when you accelerate.
- You notice fluid leaking on the exterior of your shocks or struts, which signifies the seals have broken and you are losing essential internal fluids needed for proper functioning of your shocks and struts.
Contact us today to get started with your review, repair or replacement of your vehicle’s shocks or struts. If you are not sure if they need to be replaced, schedule a review with Don’s Auto Repair today and we will help you understand exactly what is needed to get your vehicle working properly.