Has the Time Come to Replace Your Shocks and Struts?
Life would be much easier if we could just get in the car and drive without having to think about it. But, as we all know, sometimes life gives us a bumpy ride. Being ahead of the game when it comes time to replace your shocks and struts is one way to make it a little smoother.
What’s the purpose of shocks and struts?
Cars get us from point A to point B. The suspension system, which includes your shocks and struts, is what plays a vital role in making sure that trip is a safe one. Shocks are an individual component, and struts are an important structural element of the suspension system.
Most cars nowadays have both shocks and struts, though there are some exceptions. Shocks and struts provide different functions, and understanding the roles they each play will go a long way in staying on top of preventative maintenance and keeping your ride secure.
What shocks do?
We’ve all been in that mildly panic inducing situation of hitting a pothole straight on. While it is jarring, shocks absorb most of the bouncing and vibration in this situation, and keep damage to a minimum. Though hitting a pothole is an extreme example of the shocks doing their job, shocks are actually working to absorb bouncing and vibration any time the car is rolling.
Not only do your shocks create a more smooth and comfortable ride for everyone in the car, they play a key role in making sure your tires stay on the ground. When a vehicle bounces around, the tires can bounce with it. Tires that bounce around lose traction easily, making it extremely difficult to control your vehicle, and dangerous for those in or around the car.
What struts do?
Struts are a structural part of your car’s suspension, and they perform a couple of different jobs. Similarly to the shocks, they control bouncing and vibration, helping to absorb disruptions.
However, the struts are also load bearing, unlike the shocks. If your vehicle sways to one side on a turn, for example, the struts take the brunt of that force.
They also help keep the tire aligned, and provide structural support for the suspension. All of this equates to a more comfortable ride, improved handling, and better braking support.
Telltale signs that your shocks and struts need replacing
Cars come with a suspension warning light that will illuminate when any issue comes up with the suspension. So, if anything goes wrong with one of your shocks or struts, your car will let you know. But what if you don’t want to wait until something goes wrong? Fortunately, there are some ways to tell beforehand if you might have a problem.
Early warning signs you might need to replace your shocks and struts
- Listen. If you hear any odd noises such as knocking, rattling or squeaking when you’re taking a bump or a turn, you may have a problem. While some sounds are more noticeable than others, it’s important to make note if you hear anything out of the ordinary.
- Look. Are your tires worn out on one side? Do they have any cupping? Because struts help with your car’s alignment, and prevent the tire from bumping up and down, abnormal wear on the tires can indicate an issue with the shocks or the struts.
- Feel. Struts or shocks that need replacing can cause your vehicle to feel like it’s leaning on a turn, or squatting down when you stop or accelerate with force. It can also take longer than usual to come to a stop. If you notice this, it’s likely a result of the struts being worn-out.
The “bounce test”
Waiting around for signs of a bad suspension can be stressful, and even dangerous. The good news is you can test your suspension with something called the bounce test. Here’s how to do it:
- Walk to the corner of the vehicle you suspect may have a problem
- Push down on the bumper with force
- Observe the corner as it springs back up
You can perform the bounce test at each corner of your vehicle if you’re not sure exactly where the issue might be.
If your suspension is in good shape, the corner should go right back to where it was. However, if the corner bounces up and down before settling, or takes a long time to pop back up, this could mean you have a suspension problem.
If you notice any of these warning signs, or your car fails the bounce test, it’s time to get it checked out. Driving around on a faulty suspension is dangerous, and the longer you wait to fix an issue, the more expensive it could become.
What to do if you think you may need to replace your shocks and struts?
Maybe you’ve taken your car to the dealership to get your suspected suspension issue checked out. If so, you may be in a slight state of shock at the repair quote. Getting your car repaired at the dealer with factory OEM parts can be pretty expensive, especially when it comes to suspension issues.
Perhaps the quote from the dealer has sent you down a rabbit hole of searching for aftermarket parts and a local mechanic. While a reputable mechanic will definitely be able to help you with your suspension problems, this can also be a pretty expensive option.
No matter which way you cut it, when you factor in the cost of parts and labor, you’ll be spending a chunk of change getting any suspension repairs done. And, like any part on your car that gets regular wear and tear, your shocks and struts will eventually wear out and need replacement. So, why not invest in a sensible solution?
There’s a better way to replace your shocks and struts
There’s a better way to replace your shocks and struts
Luckily, there is another way to fix your air suspension problems without having to spend tons of cash.
The suspension replacement kits sold by American Air Suspension are designed to be easy to install so that you can get you car up and running again. All you need to do it yourself is a few common tools, a sturdy jack, and a couple of hours. If DIY isn’t your thing and you choose to go to your mechanic, the ease of installation means less time spent in the shop and less money out of your pocket.
Converting to a American Air Suspension kit is easy
Here at American Air Suspension, we stand behind out products. Every made in the USA kit comes with a one-year warranty on all shocks and struts and a limited lifetime warranty on all springs.