Shocks and struts are what keep your car from bouncing around over every inch of uneven road. They keep your ride smooth and enjoyable. Of course like every part of your car, they will one day wear out and need to be replace. So what are the signs that this needs to happen? And how do these parts work anyway? Your Baltimore mechanic has the answers in this week’s blog.
Shocks and Struts
How do they work?
Shocks are actually just one of two or three components that make up the struts as a whole. Struts are made up of a spring, a shock absorber, and in most cases a swivel mount. The strut is what suspends the vehicle’s frame over the wheels, and all the parts in it are what work to achieve this.
As you drive over uneven road, the spring absorbs the bumps by expanding and contracting. But if the spring were the only part you had, some of this energy would still make it into the frame of the vehicle, causing it to bounce around. This is where the shock absorbers come in.
The spring transfers the energy from bumps into the shock absorbers, which then absorb most of this energy. It does this by using this energy to push a fluid from one chamber into another. A limited amount of this energy still makes it to the vehicle’s frame, but when the vehicle comes back down the shock absorber diffuses this energy again, which prevents your car from bumping up and down multiple times.
The swivel mount is where the strut actually connects to the frame of the vehicle. They’re called swivel mounts because they can swivel when you turn the wheels.
How do you know if your shocks and struts need to be replaced?
Shocks and struts generally last for a long time, so they won’t need to be replaced often. The thing is, the wear and tear happens very slowly. This means their performance changes very gradually over time so you may not notice that they’re performing worse than the used to. Still, there are a number of signs that indicate it may be time to replace your shuts and shocks.
Does the front of the car drop down when you apply the brakes? This is a good sign that one of the components isn’t able to do its job anymore. And it’s bad for the car because it forces the rear brakes to work harder and puts more stress on the front brakes.
Another good indicator is if the car can’t handle bumpy roads like it used to. This decreases the performance of the tires and can be a handling hazard.
Bottoming out is the term that refers to when the rear end of the car hits the pavement while you’re driving. It might do this if have several passengers in the back seat or a heavy object in the trunk. It can also happen when you’re going over a bumpy road or backing out of a driveway. If the car is bottoming out, it means the rear struts are wearing out.
Rocking During Turns
When you make a turn, the weight shifts to the opposite side of the vehicle. (Right turn, weight shifts to the left, for example.) Properly working struts absorb this shift. But if they need to be replaced, you’ll notice that the car rocks and rolls during turns. If you’re going fast enough, this could even cause the tires to leave the ground. A good reason to get the shocks and struts replaced.
If you think your shocks and struts might be worn out, bring your vehicle in to Auto Stop to get it checked out!
Auto Stop is your local auto repair shop, serving the Baltimore metro area. We are A+ accredited by the Better Business Bureau. We are also an ARI Fleet repair center for all Fleet Repairs.
Our mechanics are highly trained and use state-of-the-art Automotive diagnostic equipment to pinpoint your particular issues, repair it, and get you back on the road as quickly as possible. We promise to diagnose your auto repair problems in an honest and professional manner and all of our work is 100% guaranteed!