Shocks and struts.  You’ve probably heard those words and most likely together, right?  Do you know what they do or what their function is?  What about the problems with them?  How do you go about fixing shocks and struts? 

Component Overview

Shocks and struts are the parts of a car used to stabilize the vehicle.  They keep it from bouncing all around and make the ride much smoother.  Have you ever driven down an uneven road, plagued by potholes and random rises and drops?  The shocks absorb the bounce, that is their entire purpose. The struts are also part of the suspension as a structural component.  They are mounted to the chassis and provide a mounting place for the coil spring.  This spring keeps the height of the vehicle constant and indirectly helps support the alignment of the vehicle by way of the control arm, which connects to the knuckle on the car.  Essentially, struts support the weight of the vehicle.

Think of it this way.  The shock absorber is a part of the strut.  It helps lessen the bumps and vibrations that come along in the road, because of irregularities in the pavement or the surface your vehicle is driving on.  The strut has two parts.  The shocks are one part and the coil spring is the other.  This spring is so important to maintain height, weight, and stability.  Clearly, each part is critical to the vehicle performing its proper functions and getting its passengers to and from their destination in a smooth, safe way.

Suspension Maintenance

There are some basic ways to care for the suspension of your vehicle.  First, don’t go to crazy with the off-roading.  Unless you have a vehicle specifically for off-roading, your vehicle belongs on the road.  Pay attention to the types of roads you travel and seek to drive down smooth services.  Don’t jump curbs or jar the car hard into parking spaces.  These things will definitely impact the suspension.  Get your car tuned up regularly.  This seems basic, but if you have routine maintenance, your mechanic can check out the present condition of the vehicle compared to the previous year’s condition.  It provides a baseline.  Keep the tires inflated properly, as well as balanced, rotated, and aligned.  This will improve the suspension and keep it working properly.  Last, if you hear rattling or feel things shaking, that should be a red flag.  Something like that certainly warrants a visit to your auto mechanic.  

A Few Things to Consider

To check the shocks on a vehicle, the vehicle is moved up and down, almost a forced bounce.  If the shocks are doing their job properly, they should bounce down and when they come back up, they should stop when they reach the center.  If they don’t stop and continue to move, chances are that your shocks or struts are bad.  Another way that you can tell if your shocks or struts are having issues, is if there are signs of an oil leak.  Any oil leaking out of these areas means that you probably need to replace them.  While you can check the oil leakage at home, you’ll likely want to consult with a local Utah mechanic to help you with the first test.  They have the proper equipment and tools to do this safely and efficiently, as well as have a foundational base to know if something is not right with your shocks and struts.

Changing out the struts can be quite dangerous, because of the spring.  It requires special instruments and you have to be very careful.  It is definitely recommended that you reach out to a professional Utah mechanic to take care of this service for you.

Just like caring for your brakes and changing your oil, the suspension of your car needs regular attention.  Treat the suspension with care as you drive.  Get it checked out by your Utah mechanic for routine maintenance, as well as if any problems arise.  And very importantly, be safe before you start changing out the struts or the shocks.  This is a dangerous feat and should be handled by someone experienced and with the proper tools.