What Are Shocks, Struts, and Suspension?

Sun Auto Service Expert, published on 04/09/2015

Remember when you first got your car and it seemed like the ride was smooth, your vehicle could “stop on a dime”, and the overall comfort of the drive was pleasant? Have you noticed that perhaps the ride isn’t as easy as it used to be? Have you rationalized that maybe it’s because your vehicle has aged? Consider this, at 50,000 miles (depending on road conditions) your vehicle may need new suspension components comprising of shocks, struts, or both. According to experts with the Motor Assurance Program, the useful life of struts or shocks is over at 50,000. 

Suspension is connected to the physical frame or chassis of the vehicle and the steering. It is the coordination of springs, shock absorbers, and linkages that connects a vehicle to its wheels and allows relative motion between the two. The suspension executes multiple functions by contributing to the direct handling of the road by stabilizing steering, keeping tires on the surface of the road (extending the life of your tires), and braking for both comfort and safety. It keeps passengers in the vehicle free from road noises, bumps, and vibrations. While shocks and struts both control excessive movement, struts are a structural element of the suspension system. Struts are often used as a swivel point for steering to adjust the position of the wheels for alignment. 

These safety essential elements are highly susceptible to wear and tear because of their constant connection with road conditions. Some indications that you may need to replace your shocks or struts are unusual noise coming from the suspension system, continual bounce or sway during movement, front-end dipping forward while braking, swaying or leaning while turning or changing lanes. You should consider replacement if your vehicle has original parts, has over 50,000 miles, or has been 50,000 miles since your last replacement. Why 50,000 miles? At 50,000 miles your struts or shocks have oscillated approximately 88 million times. Worn shocks or struts could diminish the ability to stop, steer, or maintain stability. Replacement is recommended if the shock or strut has lost any fluid, is bent broken, damaged, or has worn bushings. 

Because of the position of these vital parts on the vehicle, visual inspection with the vehicle on the ground is difficult. Your suspension system, including shocks and struts, should be inspected any time your vehicle is brought in for regular maintenance service.

At Sun Auto Service we are The Suspension Experts. Our ASE Certified technicians, with the use of state of the art equipment, are trained to inspect your vehicle’s suspension system thoroughly. You can trust your vehicle’s safety with Sun Auto Service.

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