Most drivers have a limited understanding of the components that keep their vehicles operating optimally. Sure, drivers know what tires do, why it’s important to keep the gas tank full and why regular oil changes are needed. And they’ve probably heard the names of the myriad of other vehicle components necessary for a safe, smooth ride, but may not know the role these parts play. One of the least understood car components are shocks and struts. Read on if you’ve ever wondered, “what are struts on a car?” or “what are shocks on a car?”


What Do Shocks And Struts Do?

To put it simply, a strut on a car is made up of several parts, including a spring, a mounting and suspension bushings. Different makes and models of cars have different combinations of struts and shock absorbers (ie: some cars have two of each, other models have just four shocks or four struts). Like the shock, the strut is responsible for ensuring the springs in your car operate as intended. When you drive over a bump in the road, the shocks and struts absorb the energy of the impact so your body doesn’t have to. In other words, these components keep you from bouncing around each time your tires drive over a non-smooth surface. In addition to dampening impact, struts play an added role: they are the structural component that holds the front of your vehicle together. They act as the “spine” of your suspension system.


Car Shock And Strut Maintenance And Repair

How do you know if your shocks or struts need to be replaced or repaired? The most foolproof way to answer this question is to have your vehicle serviced annually or anytime you notice a change in ride quality. Unlike a tire, there is no simple visual way to tell if your shocks and struts are worn. You’ll “feel” there’s a problem, rather than see one. If you experience a bumpy ride, your car shakes when you drive at high speeds or if you experience shimmying when you turn a corner; it’s time to have your service center check your car’s suspension system. But how often should you replace your shocks if you don’t feel any shaking, rattling or bumpiness? As a rule of thumb, once your mileage hits 50,000, you can be pretty certain it’s time to have them checked. By then, performance has probably declined significantly.


Shocks And Struts: Not Just Important For Comfort But Also For Safety

Although there is no hard and fast rule regarding when to replace shocks and struts , there are plenty of reasons to err on the side of caution. Not only do they absorb impact and keep your tires on the road when you run over a pothole or bump, shocks and struts affect your safety. Worn out shocks and struts:

  • Cause your tires to wear down prematurely
  • Increase your stopping distance
  • Hinder your ability to maintain control when switching lanes at high speeds

These side effects of worn suspension system components can jeopardize your safety.

Has it been awhile since you’ve had your shocks and struts checked? Have you noticed any of the telltale signs indicating these parts may be worn? If so, contact us at Southwest Auto. Our skilled team will take a look so you’ll know with certainty that your suspension system is performing to its full capacity.

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