Shocks and struts are an essential part of making riding in your vehicle smooth and safe. However, these components do wear over time, and can become damaged from poor road conditions. That’s why shock and strut maintenance should be a part of your regular vehicle maintenance. Read on for more information about the importance of keeping your shocks and struts in good condition.
What are Shocks?
Shock absorbers, often just called shocks, help to minimize movement generated by your vehicle’s springs. They also absorb some of the jolts caused by bumps and unevenness in the road. This means that shocks help to make your vehicle ride more smoothly down the road.
What are Struts?
A vehicle’s struts are located within the steering and suspension systems. They are made of a spring and a shock absorber, and are designed to be stronger than shocks due to the fact that they are weight-bearing components. They also help to improve alignment and steering.
What Happens if Your Shocks or Struts Fail?
Having your shocks and struts inspected regularly is an important part of your vehicle maintenance. If either of these components wears out, it can cause issues with your vehicle. The most common include:
Excessive Tire Wear & Tear
Issues with shocks and struts can put extra pressure on a car’s tires because your suspension system isn’t working correctly. Uneven tread pattern on tires is often a sign of bad shocks and/or struts and is definitely a sign that you should have a mechanic take a look. You can check for uneven wear by examining your tire. Even brand-new tires can be damaged by bad shocks or struts, so it is important to be aware of this issue to keep your tires in good condition.
Issues With Your Steering
Shocks and struts grab the road while you’re driving, which becomes more difficult when they’re worn out. Most often, drivers will notice that their vehicle is more difficult to manage around curves or while turning when their shocks or struts are worn out. The wheel will feel less responsive, so you will have to work harder to turn the wheel, making it more difficult to navigate turns. The longer you drive your vehicle like this, the more you risk damaging your steering system due to the extra pressure it is under.
Shock and strut problems can also make your brakes work less effectively, and can also cause damage to other parts of your vehicle over time.
The Signs of Shock and Strut Failure
If you notice fluid of any kind leaking from around your tires, it could be a sign of strut or shock damage, which occurs when the seals become damaged or worn. Shocks and struts need hydraulic fluid to absorb the force of the road, and leaking fluid means they can’t work as effectively. Your ride will be less comfortable and your vehicle can be harder to control around turns and when going over a bumpy road.
Decreased Braking Ability
One of the primary purposes of shocks is to absorb the force of the car against the road. This is especially important when the car is braking. Brakes put force on the wheels to stop them; the suspension system directs that force to the rest of the vehicle. Poorly functioning shocks have a reduced ability to absorb the force of a vehicle coming to a stop. Studies have found that vehicles driving on 50% worn-out shocks took an average of 11% longer to stop.
Issues with Turning and Acceleration
Rear-wheel drive vehicles generate a large amount of torque when the car starts to accelerate. When the suspension system is functioning properly, it absorbs the torque and redistributes it to the front wheels. This enables the vehicle to accelerate evenly. If shocks start to go bad, the car loses the ability to distribute that force, which puts more pressure on the other components within your steering and suspension system.
Less Control Over Bumps and Rough Terrain
Faulty shocks and struts can cause issues with driving across dips, bumps, and other uneven terrain. They can cause your wheels to start to bounce or vibrate, which can make it feel like your vehicle is not making contact with the road at times. An unusually shaky or bumpy ride often means suspension problems.
Let Jiffy Lube® Help You Keep Your Vehicle Riding Smooth
At your participating neighborhood Jiffy Lube®, our highly trained technicians know exactly how to assess your suspension needs, including shock and strut replacement. Stop by anytime, and our team can assess your suspension system for any maintenance or repair needs. It’s just another way that Jiffy Lube® works to help you take the best care of your vehicle possible.
Jiffy Lube® recommends following manufacturer recommendations, where applicable, for maintenance schedules and service intervals.
Not all services are offered at each Jiffy Lube® location. Please check with your local Jiffy Lube® service center for specific services offered.
Go to ChicagolandJiffyLube.com for services and locations in Chicagoland, Rockford, Northwest Indiana and Southeast Wisconsin.
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