A rough ride over a smooth road is never expected. Or feeling like a matador rather than a joyride is also not preferable. This happens when the shocks and struts of your car tire out. Pretty annoying, right?
Relax! I and my article are here just for you! Going through this article, you will figure out when to replace shocks and struts.
Normally, you have to keep a check on some factors. These factors can give you the signal when to change shocks and struts. Jerky driving, Leaking fluid, the late response of brakes are a few of them. Why don’t we explore and know more? This is not gonna be bumpy!
8 Factors to Know When to Replace Shocks and Struts
Well, your suspension won’t wear out in a flash. Shocks and struts take time to deteriorate.
Now, to figure out how to tell when you need new shocks? That is the million-dollar question to find an answer to this question, you have to check on some factors.
Factor 1: Rough Ride
Roads can be as bumpy as trampolines.
Actually, to avoid such unpleasant bounces, shocks and struts are used. The more they get damaged, the more bounces your car gets.
If this jerking continues and you find yourself mid-air often in the car, you should change your shocks and struts.
Factor2: Fluid leakage
Hydraulic fluid works in the shock to absorb the impacts.
If there’s a shortage of fluid in shock, the shock may fail to work properly. If you spot any leakage of fluid around the shock, you might have to exchange your shock and struts.
Factor-3: Unusual Tire Pattern
Unusual patterns on your tire mean something’s fishy.
Damaged suspension causes a cupping effect. You will notice a scalloped dip over the treadwear of your tire. You have to change your shocks and struts then.
Factor-4: Measuring Mileage
Cars generally require shocks and struts replacement after 50,000 miles of driving.
You can actually predict the replacement time. Before the shocks and struts start showing problems, you can easily change them without any problems.
Fator-5: Damaged Struts
When to replace struts? You can see the damaged struts yourself.
After continuous use, struts and shocks get damaged.
Sometimes this damage can be physically visible. Mark this physical damage and replace it accordingly.
Now you have your answer, right?
Factor-6: Vehicle Losing Control
As shocks and struts wear out, the Performance of the suspension system decreases. As a result, you will face unusual factors:
- Poor response of the steering.
- Unable to handle car’s weight distribution.
- Taking more to stop than usual.
- Failure of the brake.
- Excessive body lean.
If you see these issues, get ready to change your shocks and struts.
Factor-7: Rise of the Front End
Seeing that the front end of your car rises while accelerating?
This happens during hard acceleration. The rear end of your car squats basically.
If so, then don’t hesitate and change your shocks and struts.
Factor-8: Sound of Shocks and Struts
You can check out what do bad shocks sound like.
Your car will make many types of noise. This means it’s time for your shocks to retire.
Knocking Type Noise
Suppose you’ve hit a speed breaker or hole in the road and your car made a ‘bump’ noise.
Voila! Your shocks need a break. The spring bounces against the chassis of your car. That’s what creates the noise.
Squeaky Hinge Noise
You can hear some squeaky old door-opening noise in your vehicle.
Don’t worry. You are not in a horror movie. It’s just a bad ball joint of your suspension, giving you a signal to replace your shocks.
You can identify bad shock by rattling sounds as well.
You can check your suspension then. However, rattling noise can happen for many reasons. Could be an actual rattlesnake in your car!
Thus, to specify, you need to carry on other tests as well.
When there’s something between your steel mechanism and shocks, you will hear groaning noises. This means that you have to give a visit to your suspension.
Keep one thing in mind. Noises can be heard in many cases. So look for other symptoms than just noise.
Why Should I Replace Shocks and struts? It’s Time
Shocks and struts are important for the car’s suspension.
The more damage they get, the more important it becomes to change them. After all, you don’t want your head hitting the roof of your vehicle.
So, you should know why to replace shocks and struts. Just like the way you know when to replace shocks and struts.
Ready for Anything
A car is built to provide a wide range of services.
We use cars for many purposes. From hill-track to smooth city road.
Such multi-purpose appliances wear out the normal capability of a car, especially shocks and struts.
So it becomes necessary to change your shocks and struts timely.
For Best Maintenance
In time anything wears out. The same goes for your shocks and struts.
Shocks usually move upward downward about 1500-1900 times, every mile. But the performance of shocks decreases as time passes.
To keep the best performance, it is necessary to keep an eye on the car’s maintenance.
Meet the Need
As shocks and struts wear out, they become incompatible with the car’s design.
This can cause difficulty. You might end up with a vehicle out of control!
So change of shocks and struts is necessary.
Safety Comes First
Damaged shocks and struts decrease the car’s performance.
This can lead to fatal accidents, even worse, death!
To avoid such unpleasant incidents, a change of shocks and struts is necessary.
Here Comes the Money
Shock and struts are the power drive of suspension.
You have to replace them if they get damaged.
Then the question of money arrives.
How much does it cost to replace shocks and struts actually?
Usually, an assembly of shocks and struts can cost up to $900. You can also call someone to install it, which would cost from $150 to $300.
Generally, replacement of shocks and struts including labor can cost you somewhat $450 to $1,100.
Remember, this is just an ideal cost. It may vary. Based on your location, or perhaps the type of suspension you want.
I Know Why. I Know When. But How to Replace?
Since you know it’s time to give your old shocks and struts goodbye, let’s see how to replace struts and shocks
Step-01: Spring Compressor Check-Up
Check the springs, struts, and shocks of the car. Sometimes, they can be integrated. If it’s yes, then you’ll need a spring compressor. You can either the compressor or simply hire one.
Carefully tilt your car to one side. You can use a jack stand. Or use an auto lift. Much better option to tilt your car.
Step-03: Breach And Extraction
First, remove the wheel. Locate the strut assembly.
Now loosen up the bolts at the bottom of the strut. Use a ratcheting socket wrench.
Again, take an impact wrench. Loosen up the up-top part of the strut.
After loosening every bolt, get rid of the old partner. With precaution of course.
Step-04: Plant the Bomb
It’s a simple step. Just do the reverse of what you so far.
Mount the shock absorber, then the wheels.
Finally, lower your vehicle. Your car is ready with new sets of shocks and struts.
Step-05: Weapons Ready. Now, Test
Now, Do a driving test and see how your new suspensions work.
A gentle reminder, don’t go to the road without testing. Otherwise, you have to replace the whole car.
Give a smooth little drive over your neighbor’s alley. See if everything works well.
How Often Shocks And Struts Should Get Changed?
The replacement of shocks and struts depends on the car’s condition.
Generally, after every 50,000 to 100,000 miles, the shocks and struts are changed. You can follow this general theory.
The best way to find how often struts need to be replaced, check the owner’s instructions. Or contact your dealer. They can tell you the exact time interval.
Estimated Replacement Time
How long does it take to replace struts and shocks?
Well, that depends on the worker’s skills. If you are skilled and loaded with the right tools, it might only take a couple of hours only.
For any average experienced person, it might take hours to a whole day.
However, best not to try if you’re a greenhorn to this.
Another important fact is, the estimated time depends on the bolts of shock and struts.
The more the bolts and join are damaged, the more time you’ll need to dismantle. Plus, joints get old and rusty, making the replacement lengthy.
In these cases, using oils is highly recommended.
Whoa, now you know when to replace shocks or struts or both and improve it. Now hold it right there Brian O’Connor! Here are a few points you should consider:
- If you are doing the replacement on your own, be confident.
- If you have enough experience with such mechanical work, only then proceed. Try not to do this, if you are a new guy. Might create a mess instead of fixing it. If you don’t have proper knowledge about re-installation, then call for a mechanic. Go for an auto repair shop.
- While you are working, wear head, hand, foot protection equipment.
- Use Jack-stands that are rated safe.
- If the struts are gas-pressurized, keep them away from heat.
- Do the Strut assembly in a pair. This will balance the car.
- Avoid removing the nut that holds the spring. This can cause serious injuries.
- New coils, once installed, uplift the car a bit. Spare some time in the car. Eventually, the weight will adapt to the springs.
These are some precautions you can maintain while working.
Prevention is Better than Cure
No matter how important it is to change shocks and struts, it still must be well-maintained. Else no replacement will last long. Adding to that, the car performance will decrease gradually.
These things you can do for the betterment of shocks and struts:
- Timely do the replacements.
- Keep the tires in good shape.
- Do a complete check-up of your car after every 12,000 miles of driving.
- Do the replacement process carefully.
- Drive carefully. Avoid aggressive and rough driving.
Follow this and you’re shock and struts will live long!
That’s all, rider! Now, you know when to replace shocks and struts. Always keep in mind, for further difficulties, ask for an expert’s advice.
Till then, enjoy your day.
Live longer, drive slower!