How to Know When to Replace Shocks and Struts

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The lifespan of shocks and struts can vary up to about 50,000 miles, but there are also a few red flags that can indicate if a replacement is necessary. Determine whether your shocks and struts are working properly with help from a professional mechanic in this video on car maintenance.

Part of the Video Series: Under the Car Maintenance
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Video Transcript

Like most vehicle components, shocks and struts wear out over the course of time, and worn out shocks and struts can lead to a bumpy ride. Uneven tire wear, problems with wheel alignment, can even affect the life span of your brakes. Knowing the symptoms of worn shocks and struts, as well as how to check for wear and tear, will keep your vehicle running smoothly for a longer period of time. Hi, I'm Jeremy Shore with To get the best information possible, I visited my good friend Gary over at McSpadden's Automotive this morning. Let's go have a look. Alright, Gary, so how do we know when it's time to replace our shocks? Well, first of all, it's suggested at 50,000 miles for shocks or struts to be replaced. Okay. After that, there is also a simple test that you can go through for the the shock itself, and there is several different ways to identify whether or not the shock or strut needs to be replaced. A lot of it has to do with leakage, miles on the vehicle, the abuse that the shocks have been through, for example, what roads you may have driven down, how you treat the vehicle has a lot to do with it as well. Can you actually feel when the shock needs to be replaced? Typically, the owner of the vehicle, because he has driven the vehicle for so long, may not notice that the shock is starting to wear out. You get accustomed to the way the vehicle responds, the way the vehicle drives, you may never know. So, it relies a lot on your technician or mechanic that you go to to identify whether or not the shock needs to be replaced. This is not something that happens all at once; it's kind of a gradual process. Well, it is a gradual process. So, Gary what are some symptoms of a shock that is wearing out? The odd wear pattern on your tire, from there you may notice that the car doesn't handle quite as firm as what it used to, a little shakiness. Maybe a little bounce while you are driving over bumpy roads, used to not respond as well. Gary, I hear a lot about weepage and leakage when it comes to shocks. Right, now that comes back to a visual inspection, and again, usually that's done by the technician, but I do have a sample here. Now, the difference between weepage and leakage, typically, is you may look at the shock and you may not be able to tell that it's leaking whatsoever. For example, I'm going to start over here, you have some residue. Once it starts doing like that, you may refer to it as a weep. Now, once you get past that, if I turn it around here, you'll notice that this side is wet. That's actual leakage. That tells me that the seal in the shock or strut has gone bad and it's starting to lose whatever liquids or whatever pressures are in the shock itself. Once it starts showing the leakage, it is definitely past due to be changed. What is the process you go through to actually check and see if the customer's shocks are worn out? Now, there's a couple of visual inspections that you could do on the vehicle itself without gaining access to the shock. One would be swaying if you will when you're driving the vehicle and whether or not the vehicle has some dive to it. For example, while you are applying the brakes as you are driving down the road, if it has a pretty good dive to the vehicle, for example, in the front end, coaxes if you will when you apply the brakes, more than likely the front shocks are starting to wear a little bit. Gary, thanks so much, that was really helpful. No problem, thank you, Jeremy. Again, if you have any concerns, visit your local dealer or mechanic. Alright, thank you. Have a good day. This has been how to know when to replace your shocks or struts. I'm Jeremy Shore with Thanks for stopping by.


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