When does a vehicle need new Struts?

 Every vehicle has shock absorbers or struts to control the springs and prevent too much bouncing as you move over bumps and jumps.  However, these dampeners will wear over time and will need to be replaced to keep your vehicle safe.  There are some distinct differences in the way your car drives that will help you determine when you may be in need of suspension service.

Vibration in the Steering Wheel

There are a few conditions that may result in shaky steering.  However, if it is caused by worn struts the steering wheel may begin to vibrate more as you hit higher speeds. As you may imagine, the higher speeds are more critical to maintain control and this condition should be inspected at first opportunity.

Body Roll and or Lean

When turning corners struts and suspension help avoid the feel of “body roll”. If you feel your car leans over when you turn it may be because the struts are worn.  This is not just an unpleasant feel – it can be dangerous at higher speed.  The ability to steer the vehicle may be compromised if the car leans excessively, and your balance is negatively affected. It is important to note that some body roll is normal but a change in the feel is reason to have your suspension system inspected.

Leaking Fluid

Struts and shock absorbers contain hydraulic fluid.  Leaking struts could cause the struts to stop working to control the suspension spring on the car.  While it seems a pretty simple thing to take a peek under a car and look for leaks, this type of inspection really should be done by a technician that has the ability to lift the car and permit 360 visibility on the component as leaks are often not visible from all angles.

Uneven or Unusual Tire Wear

All tires wear with use.  Ideally, tires will erode slowly and evenly.  However, worn struts or shocks will permit more bounce in the springs. This choppy or bouncing ride often produce a tell sign of wear on a tire that technicians call “cupping” or “scalloping”. It appears as little flat spots all around the tire as the tire is permitted to bounce and skid, bounce and skid.  This type of tire wear generally requires new struts to ensure the tire and wheels maintains constant contact with the road.

A Bouncy Ride

Worn shocks or struts will result in more bounce when you drive.  The car will tend to sit back on acceleration and dive forward on braking. All of which compromises the driver’s ability to control and steer the vehicle.  If you detect any change in the ride control on your vehicle, we recommend having your struts and shocks inspected.  There is nothing that improves the drive like properly working shocks and struts.