Most car owners know that the shocks and struts are important, but they might not understand why. As part of the suspension system, they play a huge role in how your car operates. If you suspect that your shocks or struts need replacement, here is what you need to know.
What Are the Shocks and Struts?
The shocks and struts are known as dampers. These parts are responsible for counteracting the motion of the spring in the suspension system. The spring is designed to take the initial shock or jolt that comes from your car driving over the road. However, it cannot absorb the full brunt of it and relies on either the shocks or struts to help dampen the jolt.
Although the shocks and struts work to do the same job, they are incorporated into the design of the suspension system differently. The shocks are located near the springs. In this design, the springs are designed to take on more of the jolt. The shocks do help, but you could drive your car without them in place.
By contrast, the struts become part of the system that holds the car up. As a result, driving without them is practically impossible. Because of this, the struts are far more challenging to replace than the shocks. The entire spring assembly would have to be removed to replace the struts.
How Do You Know It Is Time for Replacement?
There are several signs that will indicate it is time for the shocks or struts to be replaced. The most telling sign is that the quality of your ride will decrease. Since you are most familiar with your car, you will notice the change early on. The car might seem to bounce slightly and the ride quality could roughen considerably.
Another sign that a replacement is needed is the car might seem as if it is leaning more to one side. If you notice this, you need to act quickly. Once the car starts to lean, it is likely unstable, which could put you at risk of rolling over during turns.
You might even notice your car's front pointing downwards to the ground when you apply the brakes. This results from the shocks or struts not being strong enough to hold up the weight of your car.
Your mechanic can inspect your suspension system and determine if new auto parts are needed to get your car back in shape.