On Orozco’s Tires 101 Blog, we’ve covered nearly every major component of your vehicle so far. This week, we’re talking about something that most people don’t even consider when they think of vehicle maintenance. You may know that shocks and struts are key parts of your car’s suspension, but do you know what they do and what neglecting them can lead to? Maybe your car will still run if these key components are worn out, but they should not be forgotten about. Worn and malfunctioning shocks and struts can be extremely dangerous, and should not be overlooked.
To understand why these components are important, it is important to first understand what they do and how they work.
A shock absorber, or shock, is responsible for keeping the springs from bouncing too much. With working shocks, the springs in a car’s suspension will not compress as much or rebound as violently as they would alone. They also do not keep bouncing for a long time as they would with worn or missing shocks. A shock absorber may also be referred to as a damper.
Struts are also responsible for dampening the springs’ movement but they are also structurally integral to the car’s suspension. This makes them more important than shocks because with worn out or malfunctioning struts, the car’s suspension could literally fall apart. While it is possible, but uncomfortable, to drive a car with worn out shocks, cars with worn out struts absolutely should not be driven.
How do you know when your shocks or struts need replacement? The best way is to have them inspected annually by our professional mechanics, but if you neglect them for long enough there will eventually be some noticeable symptoms:
“Bottoming out”: if your car is riding unusually low on one end, it can be a sign that the shocks or struts on that end are worn out.
“Forward plunge”: if the front of your vehicle plunges forward harder than normal under normal braking, the front shocks or struts may be worn out.
“Rock and roll”: if the vehicle rocks or rolls from side to side around corners, your shocks or struts may be worn out.
Bumpy ride: an unusually bumpy or bouncy ride is almost certainly a sign of worn shocks or struts.
Unpredictable handling: if your vehicle’s handling seems to be harder to control than normal, your shocks or struts may be worn out.
Another sign of damage or wear to your shocks and struts is if they are leaking. Shocks and struts may be filled with either oil or air, and either one leaking is a bad sign. Shocks leaking oil may be wet, or if they are leaking seriously enough the oil may drip to the ground beneath the car. If your shocks or struts are filled with air, you can spray them with soapy water and wait to see if air bubbles form, indicating an air leak. Leaking shocks or struts should be replaced as soon as possible.
One of the most common and most simple tests to gauge the condition of your shocks and struts is the “bounce test”. This is as easy as pushing down as hard as you can once on the front or back of a vehicle. If the car rebounds and stays at normal height when released, without bouncing, then One of the easiest and most common methods to test the condition of your shocks and struts is the “bounce test”. This is done by pushing down as hard as possible once on the front or back of a vehicle. If the car rebounds and stays at normal height without bouncing when released, then the shocks and struts are most likely still functioning normally. If the vehicle bounces several times before settling, then the shocks or struts most likely need to be replaced. A good general rule is to replace your shocks and struts every 50,000 miles as preventative maintenance.
At Orozco’s Tires and Wheels in Long Beach, we can take care of any problems with your shocks or struts. We can provide a full inspection and any necessary repairs or replacement to make your car safe to drive again. If your ride is uncomfortable, your shocks or struts are leaking, or your car seems to be handling erratically, call Orozco’s Tires & Wheels today at (844)-676-9267. Our team of state certified, professionally trained mechanics can fix any of your shock and strut problems guaranteed!
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