Your vehicle has a suspension system which offers dampening of shocks and jarring as you drive on the road. The vehicle suspension also helps enhance vehicle handling, significantly contributing to your driving experience. Many different types of suspension systems exist, but the most common one is a system comprising shock absorbers and struts. For older vehicles, shock absorbers are used in both rear and front wheels, while modern vehicles use the shock absorbers only on the rear wheels with strut assemblies on the front wheels.
Why and When Replace Your Shock Absorbers
Both struts and shocks operate in a similar way as they use either compressed liquid or gas to help absorb the up and down movement of your vehicle caused by speed bumps, potholes, bumps, and dips.
The shock absorbers are in use every time the wheels of your vehicles are in contact with the ground—whether it is moving or not. As a result, they are subjected to intensive wear and tear, and at some point, they will fail. You should consider your shocks as a normal maintenance item, replacing them regularly. Besides, you should ensure that your struts and shocks are inspected at each oil change, even when you do not have plans to replace them.
General Replacement Schedule
In general, shock absorbers are expected to last at least 50,000 miles before replacement. However, how and where you drive your vehicle significantly affects the lifespan of your shock absorbers.
You are likely to replace your shock absorbers earlier if you spend most of your driving time on dirt roads or do a lot of off-road driving, since your shock absorbers are likely to wear out much more quickly. If you spend most of your driving time on highway or interstate driving where the roads are smooth and level, your shocks are likely to go beyond the 50,000-mile mark.
How Do Shocks Fail?
Once your shock absorbers start wearing, they will fail quickly. When the end seals start wearing, the liquid or gas inside the shock absorber will leak out. If your car uses a liquid-based shock, you can note moisture on the top of the shocks or see the liquid running down the side of the shock assembly.
Signs of a failing or Failed Shock?
Since your vehicle's shock absorbers play a crucial role in handling and comfort, it is crucial to know the signs of a failing or failed shock. They include:
- Feeling that the rear end is "loose" while going around turns
- Bumping or knocking from the rear suspension
- The rear end bounces more than it should
- Vehicle does not sit level
- Even small bumps are very noticeable
- Jarring ride over rougher roads
If you feel your shocks or any part of the suspension system needs to be attended to, we invite you to bring your vehicle into River City Tire & Automotive today to inspect each shock absorber and replace them if needed.