The majority of cars have a suspension system that consists of three main components, anti-sway bars, coil springs and either struts or shocks. The coil springs are designed to support a large portion of the cars weight; the anti-sway bars are what connect the left and right suspension systems to the frame of the car and to help prevent the car from rolling or swaying while turning.
The shocks are gas or oil filled tubes that help the coil springs, and the anti-sway bars be more efficient by preventing rocking or bouncing in the suspension system. Struts are individual, self-contained units that used to combine shocks and a coil spring. The shocks and/or the struts are very important in helping to keep the tires on the road during acceleration, while turning or when hitting a bump.
Wear and Tear
The suspension system on your vehicle should always be well maintained. If the shocks or struts are worn, it causes the car to ride rough and bumpy.
The shocks are necessary in preventing your car from swaying and making it easy to turn, apply the brakes and drive on an uneven road. Some of the warning signs that the shocks or struts are beginning to show wear and tear include:
1 – The car will roll or feel as though it is leaning as you are turning a corner.
2 – Tires are hopping or bouncing. When you hit a bump the car will lose contact with the road and cause the car to bounce.
3 – The car will dip or pitch when stopping or accelerating.
4 – There may be fluid leaking if the seals are worn.
5 – There will be excessive wear and tear on the tires. In most cases if the shocks or struts are worn out there will be a diagonal wear pattern on the tire tread.
Maintenance by a Certified ASE Technician
If the struts or shocks begin to wear down, it can cause a variety of severe problems with the handling of your car. Bad shocks and struts can lead to damage of the spring and ball joints, the steering linkage and the CV joints, all of which can create dangerous driving.
The brakes and tires can be effected if the struts and shocks go bad, which can cause the car to hydroplane or not stop correctly, if at all. It is extremely important that the struts and shocks be maintained and checked on a regular basis by an ASE certified technician.