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When Should I Replace Shocks Or Struts?

It is not always easy to determine when it is time to replace worn shocks and struts. Since it is difficult to see or hear the effects caused by worn shocks, you may wonder how you can determine when it is time to replace them. It is impossible to say how long shocks and struts will last. This is determined by several factors such as road and weather conditions, driving habits, condition of suspension and tires, vehicle load and road contaminants. It is best to have a certified mechanic inspect and test the shocks, struts and suspension system of your vehicle at least once a year or every 12,000 miles. There are also some signs that you may notice yourself.

An obvious sign is excessive bouncing as you drive. Test specifically by bouncing each corner of the vehicle. If it bounces more than 1 ½ times after you release, your shocks and struts could be worn.

Tire wear is another sign. Test by running your hand over the tire tread all the way around. Worn shocks, struts or suspension parts will cause a cupped tire wear pattern. Worn suspension parts will cause a random cupping pattern. Worn shocks or struts will cause a repeated cupping pattern.

Shocks and struts should always be replaced in pairs as they are exposed to approximately the same amount of wear and abuse. It is important to replace worn shocks and struts as soon as possible because they are responsible keeping the tires in contact with the road surface. The amount of contact your tires with the road directly affects your vehicles ability to stop, steer and maintain stability.

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