Shocks and Struts

When should your vehicle’s shocks and struts be replaced?

Determining Shocks and Struts Condition

You need new shocks (and/or struts) if your car or truck’s original shocks (or struts) are worn out, are damaged or if they are leaking. It is a good rule of thumb to have your shocks inspected whenever you have you brakes looked at. Typically that’s once a year or every 12,000 miles.

How to look for Shocks and Struts Damage

Leaking shocks and struts
Leaking shocks or struts are easy enough to see. Look for wetness or oil discharge on the outside of the shock or strut.
Damaged Shocks and Struts
Damaged shocks or struts would include a broken mount, badly dented housing, deteriorating bushings. A visual inspection will determine if your shocks or struts are damaged.
Worn Shocks and Struts
Wear is a more of a subjective judgment. Shocks and struts do not require replacement at specific mileage intervals as a part of regular maintenance like filters or spark plugs. However, shocks and struts do wear out and will need to be replaced over the life of the average car or truck. How long a set of original equipment shocks or struts will last varies based on driving conditions, loads carried, etc. Some OE shocks may weaken after only 25,000 miles. Struts usually last longer, typically 50,000 miles or more.
But when exactly a shock or strut needs to be replaced can be hard to say. Because the damping performance of shocks and struts deteriorate gradually, the decline in ride control and comfort often is unnoticed. When you think need new shocks or struts, it’s probably way past when they should have been replaced.
One way to evaluate your vehicle’s shocks or struts condition is to consider how your car or truck has been handling and how comfortable the ride quality has been lately. Is there excessively bounce when driving on rough roads? Or after hitting a bump? Does the nose of the car or truck dive when braking? Does the vehicle body sway in crosswinds? Does the car roll excessively when going around corners? Does the undercarriage scrape when backing out of the driveway? Does the suspension bottom out when hauling extra passengers or weight?
Even if the shocks or struts may not be worn, damaged or leaking, the original equipment shocks may not be adequate for the driving conditions or loads being carried. Upgrading your suspension with stronger or stiffer shocks would be recommended to improve handling and comfort. If you are towing a trailer, hauling heavy loads, or any other commercial use, heavy duty shocks is a necessity.

The Shocks and Struts “Bounce Test”

A “bounce test” is still probably the widest used and completely valid means of checking for worn shocks and struts. Grab a bumper or fender and rock the car or truck up and down then release. If the suspension bounces more than one or two times after rocking and releasing the bumper or body, your shocks or struts are showing wear and need should be replaced.

Replacing auto shocks and struts in Newport oregon

Replacing worn shocks and struts will dramatically improve safety and ride quality.

Why Replace Shocks and Struts?

Weak shocks and struts won’t necessarily create a driving hazard if you neglect replacing them, but may compromise your safety. Be aware there have been auto industry expert studies on suspension wear that show worn shocks increase stopping distance as much as 10 percent. This is expecially true on rough roads and in emergency situations. Increased body sway due to worn shocks or struts will also increase possibilities of losing control in windy weather, or skidding on wet roads.
Increase Wear and Tear on Your Vehicle
Worn shocks and struts also slightly increase wear on your suspension parts, and definitely speed up tire wear.
Ride Quality
So yes you can put off replacing those worn shocks without much consequence, but the main reason to get a new set of shocks is to improve your car or trucks overall ride quality. If you’re tired of bouncing around and rocking to and fro on rough roads, a new set of shocks or struts will firm up your vehicle’s suspension and restore the proper smooth ride control.

Shocks and Struts Options

Performance Shocks and Struts
If you’re into customization and performance handling, you can upgrade your shocks to premium quality gas charged shocks or struts, which are charged with high pressure nitrogen gas. This helps the shocks reduce the foaming in the hydraulic fluid which lessens “fade” on rough roads. It also helps the car or truck maintain stiffer control around corners.
Heavy-Duty Shocks and Struts
“Heavy-duty” replacement shocks and struts are available that have larger diameter pistons than original equipment. These provide increased resistance for greater ride control — but may be too harsh for everyday driving. These are best applied in high use and heavy load situations. Some shocks have adjustable valves that allow the driver to vary the amount of resistance and set the stiffness of the shock manually.
Shocks and Struts for Heavy Loads and Hauling
Consider your shocks wisely if you tow a trailer or haul extra cargo. “Overload” shocks have a coil spring around them to increase the load carrying capacity of the suspension system. These also tend to ride a lot stiffer than standard shocks. Air-assist shocks have an adjustable air bladder that acts as a spring to carry extra weight. With this type of air shock, the air can be added “as needed” when hauling extra weight giving you control over the ride quality when you’re not hauling.

Shocks and Struts Replacement

Shocks and Struts Repair by our Auto Mechanics in Newport Oregon

Industry experts estimate that worn shocks add an average of 10% to your stopping distance.

Shocks and struts should be replaced in pairs. The exception being at a low mileage when only one shock or strut been damaged or is leaking fluid.
Can You Replace Shocks or Struts Yourself?
Shocks can be a popular do-it-yourself upgrade because they’re fairly easy to replace with the right tools. Struts are not as simple: not only do they require extensive suspension disassembly, the wheels should also be re-aligned after strut replacement. You’re probably better off letting an auto repair shop replace your struts.

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139 NE Harney St. Newport Oregon 97365 – (541) 265-6049