Almost every time I walk into a car repair shop, I see advertisements about shocks and struts. Some mechanic shops will tell you that those are necessary for your safety, and other will tell you it gives you a smother ride, and more comforting drive on uneven roads. But the question is, do you need to invest into changing them, and if at all, how would it hurt you.
If you continue to drive on your worn out shocks and struts, you are necessarily putting yourself in danger of creating a driving hazard, however, statistical and physical studies have concluded that worn shock increase the stopping distance for a car driving on a rough surface. So, if you were someone that wants to keep their car in perfect driving condition, how often do you change the struts and shocks.
Different manufacturers suggest different odometer readings for changing them. However, after detailed interviewing with my network of trusted mechanisms, I came to the conclusion that it is almost impossible to a certain point in the car's life that the struts and shocks are to be replaced. Some factory shocks may show aging signs after only 30,000 or 40,000 miles. Struts usually last around 50,000 or 60,000 miles. Shocks and struts do not require replacement at specific mileage intervals like filters or spark plugs. This is simply because the damping characteristics of the parts gradually deteriorates over time. And since you are driving the car pretty much everyday, the decline in the quality of the drive is going to happen with out you noticing.
Would you like to know if you need to change those parts without going to mechanic ?? A preliminary way of testing "bounce test". This is where you would rock and release the bumper or the body. If the cars continues to gyrate more than one or two times then the parts are aging, and it's time to replace them. You can also diagnose the parts by answering the following questions.
When driving on rough roads, does the car excessively bounce?
After hitting a bump, Does the car excessively bounce?
Does the body sway excessively when cornering or driving in crosswinds?
Does the nose dip when braking?
When backing out of the driveway, does the suspension bottom out?
When hauling extra passengers or weight does the suspension bottom out?
If you answered yes to more than one question, then the change is due. Remember, by not changing the parts you are necessarily putting yourself in risk of creating a driving hazard. Spend the money only if you were someone that wants to keep their car in perfect driving condition, how often do you change the struts and shocks.
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