|Shocks, Struts & Suspension
|Shocks and Struts - Check Every 50,000 Miles
Most owners know their vehicles require routine maintenance, including periodic inspection of their batteries, spark plugs, tires, windshield wipers, filters and fluids. But often the parts drivers can't see, such as shock absorbers and struts, located under the vehicle-don't get the attention they deserve. In addition to causing an uncomfortable ride and poor handling, weak shocks may cause changes in vehicle ride height. This may lead to increased wear on other suspension components-including tires, ball joints and springs-which could cause premature component failure in extreme cases. These components are often more expensive to replace than the shocks themselves.
Shocks and struts are the only devices on your vehicle designed to help reduce up and down movement. Reducing this movement can offer many benefits, such as improved comfort, control and handling.
|Q: Is there an obvious sign, like a noise or a jolt, that shock absorbers make when they wear out and need to be replaced?
A: Not really. Shocks wear out gradually, so an incremental loss of handling, control or ride performance may not even be noticeable to the vehicle owner.
The vehicle's shocks should be inspected every time the vehicle comes in for any service.
Q: Which of the following are indications that a vehicle's shocks may need to be replaced?
|a) Vehicle continues to bounce after hitting a road bump
b) Vehicle may take longer to stop
|c) Vehicle nose-dives when braking
d) Vehicle ride is shaky or bumpy
|e) Vehicle sways or leans on turns
A: All five are symptoms of worn-out shocks. Because shocks deteriorate slowly, most drivers say that until the new shocks are installed, they don't realize what a significant difference shocks make in comfort, control and handling.
Q: Is there any physical evidence that may indicate a vehicle's shocks need replacing?
A: The two most common physical signs are: 1) cupping of the tires; that is, fairly regular, small patches of rubber dug out around the tire's circumference, and 2) oil leaking from the shocks. Monroe encourages drivers to have their vehicle's suspension system thoroughly inspected every time the vehicle comes in for any service by a service center that has ASE-certified technicians.
|Suspension System problems can cause a vehicle to become hard to control - schedule an appointment if you experience any of these problems:
• You hit a bump and you notice your vehicle keeps bouncing for a while
• It's more difficult to turn the steering wheel, or it feels like something is binding or dragging
• While driving, you must constantly correct the direction of the car by turning the steering wheel or the vehicle pulls to one side
• Your steering wheel jumps or jerks when you're idling or driving slowly, the steering wheel moves too easily, or begins to vibrate
• The steering wheel wobbles side-to-side when you're traveling at steady speeds
• When you turn a corner, you hear a knocking, clunking and/or squeaking noise