If you hit a bump in the road and your vehicle just keeps bouncing up and down for a lot longer time than it used to, you may have bad struts and shocks. They’re the things that help to keep your vehicle’s wheels and tires planted to the road surface.
But they don’t last forever. With care and depending on where and how you drive, shocks and struts should be replaced at intervals ranging from 50,000 miles/80,000 km to 100,000 miles/160,000 km. If you drive on bumpy roads with a lot of potholes, that interval will likely be shorter. Rough surfaces can take their toll.
But how do you know if your shocks and struts are doing their job properly? The best way is to have your vehicle checked by a technician. He or she can inspect the shock absorbers and struts for leaks, corrosion and damage. Mounts and bushings can also go bad and they should be evaluated as well. A thorough examination by a technician will also include looking at other suspension parts. Some may contribute to making your vehicle behave the same way if they’re broken, corroded, worn or bent.
If you need new shocks and struts, your service advisor will make sure that you get those that meet manufacturer’s specifications. That’s important because they want to make sure you’re getting the handling and performance engineers designed your vehicle to have.
If you’ve ever ridden down a rough road on your bicycle, you know how hard a ride it can be. Yet drive down the same road in your car, truck or SUV and it miraculously will smooth out the ride. That’s because it is equipped with shock absorbers. They are built to dampen impacts from road irregularities. But after taking hundreds of hits from potholes, railroad tracks and curbs, your shock absorbers can wear out. Besides the rough ride that can cause, there are other ways your vehicle’s performance can be affected.
When it comes to braking for example, you may take a longer distance to stop. That’s because shocks help keep your tires in contact with the surface of the road. If the shocks aren’t working properly, the tires won’t make contact like they should. So when you slam on the brakes, your vehicle will take longer to stop.
Consider what worn out shocks are doing to your tires. Since the bumps aren’t being dampened as much, your tires can bounce up and down more. That can produce a problem of uneven wear called cupping.
And when you start out from a stop, your vehicle may not have the traction it should since the shocks aren’t keeping them down on the road as you accelerate. If you have front wheel drive, you may lose some steering control on acceleration. Obviously, many of these things involve safety concerns.
Pay attention to any deterioration in your vehicle’s ride quality. If your vehicle is starting to bounce up and down and its ride feels bumpier than before, head on over to your vehicle service facility and get your suspension checked out. Do the same if steering response isn’t as good as it used to be. Notice that your vehicle nose dives when you brake? Are your tires wearing in an unusual manner? All are signs that your shocks may be on their last legs.
If the last time you replaced your shocks was 50,000 miles/80,000 kilometers ago, a technician should evaluate them. Don’t be “shocked” if it’s time for new ones.
When they hear the word ‘suspension,’ St. Peter motorists may think back to those energetic days of grade school. Well, your car’s suspension is actually a good thing because it keeps your car up off the road and helps provide a comfy ride around Cleveland. Its job is to keep your wheels firmly planted over bumps and through curves. Your suspension system has many essential parts. If you look under your car, it’s basically everything that connects your wheels to the minivan’s frame. These are heavy duty parts that do a lot of work. They need to be inspected for damage and excessive wear at least once a year. A good time for this is when you get your annual alignment service at Autotronics of ST Peter.
Basically, you just don’t feel in control when you’re driving.
Some suspension parts just wear out with use. Shocks and struts eventually lose their ability to control your ride. Wheel bearings need to be repacked every couple of years. And some suspension pieces need to be lubricated when you get your oil changed. Your knowledgeable tech at Autotronics of ST Peter can perform a diagnostic examination and tell you what problems you may have.
If you’re in an accident, your suspension can be damaged or knocked out of alignment. Even a minor accident, like hitting a curb around St. Peter or even a large rock can mess things up for St. Peter drivers. With a minor accident it’s tempting for many Cleveland car owners to just get an alignment or wheel balance to correct the problem. But if there’s damage, a simple alignment won’t actually fix the problem, and you’ll just have to align it again after the repairs are made. So if you have an accident, get your suspension system inspected right away. Suspension problems are a major safety issue because they can lead to unsafe handling.
One big cause of suspension damage for St. Peter auto owners is potholes – those nasty magnets that form in Cleveland roads in freezing weather. They seem to draw our tires right into them. Here are some tips for avoiding damage from potholes: First, keep your tires at their full air pressure. That gives tires their maximum resiliency and will hopefully keep your wheels or other suspension parts from crunching on a big hole. Next, just pay attention. When you see a hole you can’t miss, slow down before you hit it. Driving at a slower speed will limit the damage, and may keep your drink from spilling. But avoid the temptation to brake directly over the pothole. That will cause the car’s weight to shift forward and add to the potential damage.
Autotronics of ST Peter Give us a call today at 507.934.9290 Or stop by at 111 Jefferson Avenue, St. Peter, MN 56082