5 tips for checking your car’s shock absorbers

September 22, 2014

Shock absorbers let you to drive over rough terrain without feeling every bump. They also help ensure a smoother, safer ride.  But how long do they last? And when should they be replaced?

5 tips for checking your car’s shock absorbers

Does your car bounce whenever you hit a bump?

If your ride has started bouncing whenever you hit a bump, it’s probably time to check your shock absorbers. If you don’t replace them, it could affect the life of your brakes and control of your vehicle. Here's how to check them:

  1. Test your shock absorbers
    Take your car to an empty parking lot. See what happens when you continually accelerate and brake. If your vehicle continues to bob up and down even after you have come to a complete stop from a slow speed, it may be time to change those shocks.
  2. See if your car bounces
    You can also check your car’s bounce by pushing down on the bumper. If it takes it several bounces to return to its initial position, your shock absorbers may be weak.
  3. Is your vehicle lop-sided?
    If you notice your car isn’t level in the front, it can mean something is off with your suspension and shocks.
  4. Look for loose bolts
    Check to see if there are any loose bolts, which may make a rattling noise when you’re driving. Loose bolts can also mean something is off with your shocks.
  5. Are the shocks leaking?
    Examine your shock tubes to see if they’re leaking any oil or liquids. This can also indicate bigger issues with your car’s shock absorbers.

How often should you replace your car’s shock absorbers?

Most auto manufacturers recommend that you replace your shock absorbers at least every 80,000 kilometres. However, this may vary depending on how much driving you do and where.

  • Your mechanic should check them out during every visit to the repair shop.

Should you replace your own shocks?

If you’re the type who enjoys DIY projects; if you have the tools and experience; if you can easily find some at a reasonable cost, you might consider doing the work yourself. Most shocks will come with detailed instructions for their installation. However, that's a lot of "ifs" and shock absorbers are a vital part of your car's steering mechanism.  Is it worth it? If you're unsure how to go about it, consider a visit to your trusted mechanic, instead.

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