Having regular maintenance performed on your car is the best way to prevent it from having unexpected problems. While certain aspects of maintenance are obvious, like oil changes and changing your brakes, other aspects aren't so clear. Two components of your car that you might not realize need maintenance are shocks and struts. Shocks and struts are not only responsible for giving you a smooth ride; they're also responsible for the stability, handling, and stopping distance of your car. Knowing the signs of worn shocks and struts will enable you to maintain them better and ensure the safety of your car.
1. Your car is nose-diving. Nose-diving refers to the front of your car "diving" forward when you stop short. This happens when your shocks and struts are worn, and the rear of your car rises in response to the reduced braking performance. Nose-diving causes your car to have a longer stopping distance, which can be the difference between a close call and an accident.
2. Your car is bouncing excessively over bumps. While springs absorb the impact of a bumpy or rough surface, the shocks and struts are responsible for controlling and stabilizing the springs. When the shocks and struts are working properly, the car should stabilize after one or two bounces. If your car continues to bounce many times after going over a bump or rough surface, it's time to have your shocks or struts changed.
3. Your car is swaying or leaning. If your car is swaying or leaning in strong winds or during sharp turns, it could be a sign that your shocks and struts need to be replaced. When the shocks and struts become worn, they are no longer able to handle the weight transfer smoothly, which results in your car swaying or leaning.
4. Your steering wheel is vibrating. A vibrating steering wheel is most likely caused by bad front tires or a bad alignment. Unfortunately, when these problems occur, they often cause premature wear and tear on shocks and struts. So if your steering wheel has been vibrating, you'll want to have the shocks and struts replaced in addition to the other parts causing the problem.
5. Premature wear and tear on your tires. If you notice your tires have wear and tear on just one side, have dents in the tire tread (also known as cupping), or have excessive scuffing, your shocks and struts could be worn. When they become worn, they can no longer control the suspension properly, which causes the tires to wear unevenly when driving.
While worn shocks and struts are not as easy to notice as flat tires and check engine lights, they're just as important to maintain. Keeping an eye out for these warning signs will help you keep your shocks and struts in good condition and ensure your car ride is comfortable and safe. If you do notice one of these signs that your shocks and struts need to be replaced, then contact an auto shop like Affordable Automotive Service Center.