Shocks and struts are small components of your vehicle's suspension system that make a big difference in how smoothly your car drives. Your struts and shocks work together to keep your car or truck balanced, flat on the road and riding smoothly. Over time, these parts can wear down and eventually will need to be replaced by a qualified auto mechanic. Here are four signs that it's time to replace your shocks and struts:
Your Vehicle Bounces
For many drivers, the most obvious sign that your struts and shocks are wearing out is that your vehicle becomes much more bouncy and rough-feeling to drive. You suddenly feel every bump in the road because your suspension system is no longer absorbing the shock. When you stop your vehicle or back up, it visibly bounces instead of moving smoothly.
You can even perform a "bounce test:" when your vehicle is parked, push down on the hood by hand. If it settles back into position normally, you probably don't need new struts and shocks, but if it bounces back and forth a few times before settling, you most likely do.
You Experience Nose Diving While Braking
Another common sign that your struts and shocks are worn out is "nose diving" when you hit the brakes. This means that the front of your car dips down or nosedives whenever you brake. Similarly, when you accelerate, you may notice the front of your car lifting upward slightly.
Your Vehicle Pulls During Stops
If you experience the strange feeling of your car pulling or listing to one side whenever you make a turn, this is another sign that you are having suspension issues, which most often means you need new struts and shocks. If this becomes more dramatic, the pulling can become a safety issue so it's definitely worthwhile to have your car checked out right away.
Uneven Tire Wear
Have you needed to replace your tires more often than normal because they aren't wearing evenly? While this can be caused by a few different issues, one possible cause is uneven suspension related to worn out struts and shocks. If you experience uneven tire wear in conjunction with other signs on this list, it's most likely being caused by old struts and shocks.
If you are experiencing any of these signs, or a combination of them, it's time to have your car checked out by an experienced mechanic who can make the final determination if it's definitely time to replace your struts and shocks.