Suspension struts are one of the most crucial parts of your car’s handling, ride, stability and safety. The good news is, they are usually a one-time investment over the service life of the car. The bad news is, they are a little more complicated and costly to replace than old-fashioned shock absorbers and you should definitely consult an auto mechanic. But if you’re in doubt, these are a few problem signs to look for:
- Take the car on a rough road. Do you hear thumps, like the suspension is “bottoming out” and crashing against its stops?
- Take the car on a rough road with some curves. Does the car’s handling feel “squirrelly” and uncontrolled, as if it could get away from you if you pushed it much faster? Does it feel like it wants to travel sideways around curves?
- Accelerate sharply. Does the car’s rear end hunker down as you accelerate? Also, does the car nose dive as you hit the brakes hard?
- With the engine off and the car on level ground, put your knee on the front bumper and get it to bouncing up and down several times. When you take your knee off the bumper, how many times does it continue to bounce? If there are more than two bounces before it comes to a stop, that’s a pretty sure sign it’s time to replace the struts.
Some vehicles have shocks and struts both, some only have struts (your mechanic can tell you on your particular car). It’s important to know that worn shocks and/or struts will also accelerate the wear of tires and suspension parts like your steering linkage, CV joints, springs, ball joints and tie rod ends. If you’re in doubt, we can help diagnose a strut problem by looking for things like worn suspension stops and rubber bumpers, leaks on the strut housing or dents on the shock or strut body itself.
Brands like Monroe and KYB are usually the go-to brands for suspension parts. Like we said – this is usually a one-time investment, but it’s not something you want to put off so if you think you might need new shocks or struts talk to an auto repair professional.