What does the car suspension do?
The suspension system is located between the frame and the wheels and serves multiple purposes. Ideally, a well-tuned suspension will absorb bumps and other imperfections in the road so the people inside the car can travel comfortably. This may appear like a pretty straightforward job. In reality the suspension system and its components have to withstand an enormous amount of stress compared to other major systems in a car. Beyond the comfort which is very important from a passenger’s perspective, the suspension system is also responsible for keeping the wheels on the ground as much as possible, an important and challenging task from a security standpoint. What is the difference between shocks and struts?
The shock absorber
is a device that controls unwanted spring motion through a process known as dampening. Shock absorbers slow down and reduce the magnitude of vibratory motions by turning the kinetic energy of suspension movement into heat energy that can be dissipated through hydraulic fluid. Struts
are the main component of a modern independent suspension system, as they “suspend” the body and frame of your vehicle above the wheels. All the weight of your vehicle rests on your struts, which transfer the weight, via several other components, to the wheels.
The major difference between shocks and struts is that a strut is a structural part of the vehicle’s suspension system where a shock is not. Every vehicle was designed with either shocks or struts and your vehicle's suspension uses one or the other, and a few both. How do I know my shocks are worn out? Shock absorbers
do eventually wear out, whether it be due to continued use on rough roads, being exposed to the elements, or just normal wear and tear. When your shocks wear out you should notice more bouncing after a bump and a whole lot of shaking going on over rough roads because they can’t keep the tires planted on the pavement. Shocks contain fluid that dampens the bouncing, and once they start to leak, performance will deteriorate. Another indicator is the body shaking or floating in a strong breeze, often the car will have a “loose” feeling while driving down the road. When do I need to replace my car’s struts?
Common signs that you may need to replace your struts are the “trampoline effect”, with tire noise and vibration from cupping caused by excessive up/down movement, excessively harsh riding over bumps, awful noises when turning or on bumps, popping or clicking noise while you’re turning, or steering pull. What is the mileage interval for shocks and struts?
There is no mileage interval that covers all shocks on all makes and models in all road conditions. Usually we tell people they can expect around 70-80,000 miles out of new struts. Obviously, the worse your local roads are, the more quickly your suspension components will wear out. If you’ve gone past this timetable, it’s not the end of the world, but chances are if you get your struts replaced, you will notice a marked improvement in ride quality, handling, and even stopping distance.