For many drivers, the suspension on their vehicles (i.e., shocks or struts) is something they take for granted and don't think about often. Even if you begin to notice a rough ride, you might figure you need to save your money for more critical engine repairs. However, if your car needs suspension repair and you ignore it, you won't have as much control of your vehicle, and tires and other moving parts can wear out more quickly. It stands to reason that keeping your car's shocks or struts in good repair can not only extend the life of your car, but also keep you safer on the road.
How can you tell whether your vehicle needs suspension repair? Here are five things to watch for.
1. Rough ride
To state the obvious, the most common sign of failing shocks or struts is a rougher ride. You'll start feeling every bump under the tires, or you'll feel the car get more "bouncy" on uneven roads. If this happens, it's usually time to have the shocks checked at a trusted auto repair center.
2. The "bounce test"
If you're uncertain about whether the "rough ride" above means your shocks are failing, you can try the "bounce test." With the vehicle parked, stand in front of it, push down on the hood with all your weight, and rock it a few times. (You can do this with the back end, also.) If the suspension isn't working properly, the car body will continue to bounce under its own weight more than 2-3 times after you release it.
3. Swaying, drifting or "nose dives"
The vehicle suspension is supposed to stabilize the car body over the wheels and drive train; when it's failing, the car body isn't held securely and will lurch more against the forces of movement. If you apply the brakes suddenly, you might feel the front end "nose dive," and during tight turns, you'll feel the car sway or even begin to drift. This is a safety issue because you don't have as much control of your car as you should. Bad shocks can increase your stopping time by as much as 20 percent, and they can also increase the chance of rollovers during turns. When you notice these symptoms, it's time to take the car in for auto repair services.
4. Irregular tread wear on the tires
A lot of issues can cause your tires to wear down unevenly, but in many cases it's because a bad suspension is causing uneven weight distribution.
5. Leaky, "oily" shocks or struts
Often, you can see for yourself whether the shocks or struts need to be replaced just by looking at them. Check under your car and see whether the shocks appear to be oily or dented. If they are, chances are they are leaking fluid and should be replaced.
For trusted auto service and repairs in Vancouver, David's Auto Repair offers more than 15 years' experience in providing accurate engine diagnostics and affordable maintenance and repair services, not only for domestic vehicles, but also for BMW, MINI, VW and other European vehicles. For a free estimate on suspension repair or any other automotive services.