Most people never think about their car's suspension.
Your suspension is made up of a lot of moving parts. The shocks, the power steering, the sway bars. They all move.
Oil, dirt, and road tar are like cancer to the rubber bits in your suspension.
Shock mounts, suspension bushings, and power steering lines all contain rubber (unless you've upgraded to polyurethane). So, make sure that they're cleaned of all those contaminants periodically. Otherwise, you'll be replacing them a lot sooner than you think.
Signs That Shocks or Struts Are Failing
Knowing the signs of shock or strut failure can help a vehicle owner recognize problems before they get out of control. Below are common signs that can help indicate that a potential problem with this vehicle equipment.
One of the common signs that a vehicle may be experiencing problems with rear shocks or struts is what is often referred to as “bottoming out.” If the rear end of the vehicle dips far enough down in the back end to hit pavement when traveling through recesses in the road’s surface, this can be an indication that the rear shocks or struts are failing. Bottoming out when backing out of a driveway or carrying excessive weight in the rear such as heavy object or multiple back seat passengers can also signify rear shock and rear strut problems as well.
Another common sign of worn front shocks or front struts is when the front end of the vehicle plunges forward while applying the brakes causing it to nose dive. The reason this happens is because the when the brakes are applied, the weight of the car wants to keep traveling forward, even though the tires have stopped. This effect is hard on the performance of the rear brakes and adds additional stress to the front brakes which can over time create a driving hazard because the vehicle is harder to control and steer.
Rock and Roll Effect
If a vehicle rocks and rolls from side to side when maneuvering around corners, worn shocks and struts could be the problem. During a turn, the shifting weight of the vehicle often causes body to move toward the outside of the turn which could pose a hazard if the tires leave the ground. The only way to compensate for this effect without immediate shock or strut replacement is to control the vehicle movement by slowing it down before entering the turn or reduce any extra weight the vehicle may be carrying.
Bad shocks don't just mean a bumpy ride
If you have a worn, or broken shock absorber. It's going to do a lot more than just make the ride a little bumpy.
Bad shocks can increase your stopping distance by as much as 20 metres. Plus, if you experience “wheel hop” during that hard stop. A broken shock can even cause your vehicle to slide.
So, don't put off replacing those worn shocks any longer.
Rough road surfaces can give a bumpy ride effect to a vehicle if the shocks and struts are wearing down. Since the tires and road surfaces tend to send vibrations throughout the vehicle, if the shocks and struts are not working properly, these vibrations can be felt throughout the interior of the vehicle while it is in motion causing a bumpy ride effect. Also associated with this effect is increase noisiness and decreased tire performance.
As vehicle mileage starts increasing over time, parts are going to start wearing out. How a car is driven and under what common conditions it is driven under can make a difference in the life of shocks and struts. Unfavorable conditions such as wind gusts, increased steering wheel movement, and unfavorable road conditions can cause a vehicle to pitch from side to side if the shocks and struts are failing. Unlike many other vehicle maintenance procedures, there are no mileage requirements to determine when the shocks or struts need to be replaced. However, it is worthwhile preventative maintenance to have the vehicle’s shocks or struts inspected for damage every 50,000 or 60,000 miles or if damage is noticed on the outer casing of the shock or strut.