Shock, Struts, and Signs of Wear

Shocks and struts are both components of a vehicle’s suspension system, but they serve different functions.

Shocks, or shock absorbers, are designed to control the bouncing of the suspension and provide a smooth ride by dampening the movement of the springs. Notably, shocks do not support the weight of the vehicle.

Struts, on the other hand, are a combination of shock absorbers and structural support for the suspension. In addition to providing a smooth ride, struts also support the weight of the vehicle and help maintain its alignment.

Various sized shock absorbers.
Various sized shock absorbers.

Signs of Wear

Here are four warning signs that your shocks or struts may be worn out:

1. Reduced handling and stability:

If your vehicle’s handling and stability are reduced, it may be a sign that your shocks or struts are worn out and unable to effectively control the suspension. For instance, drivers may report swaying, dipping, and nosediving as signs that shocks or struts are worn.

2. Increased bounce:

If your vehicle continues to bounce even after hitting a small bump, it may be a sign that your shocks or struts are worn out and unable to effectively dampen the movement of the suspension.

3. Uneven tire wear:

Worn shocks or struts can cause your vehicle to lean or pull to one side, leading to uneven tire wear. Delay fixing your suspension problems and you may incur additional repairs and maintenance costs, including tire replacement.

4. Evidence of leakage:

It isn’t unusual to observe a small amount of residual oil around your shocks or struts. Notably, as they constrict, oil may leak. However, if upon inspecting your shocks you observe that they’re splattered in liquid, that’s a strong indication that they are worn out. Specifically, disproportionate leakage might be attributed to tube casing damage.

Maintenance Schedule

Working shocks and struts enable you to brake as required. If they’re worn they might cause you to lose control of your car when you least expect it. Fortunately, your original shocks should last at least 100,000 miles, but less under rough driving conditions.

As always, keep on the lookout for potential problems and address them immediately. Lastly, follow your vehicle’s maintenance schedule to ensure that all maintenance due items are handled promptly.

See Also5 Ways to Improve the Performance of Your Old Car

Photo Attribution

Featured image by jackmac34, courtesy of Pixabay.

Shock absorber image by taliesin, courtesy of MorgueFile.

Matt Keegan
Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan is a journalist, media professional, and owner of this website. He has an extensive writing background and has covered the automotive sector continuously since 2004. When not driving and evaluating new vehicles, Matt enjoys spending his time outdoors.

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