> Blog – Expert Automotive Info from Geller’s Automotive in Byram, NJ > Caring for Your Vehicle > Shocks and Struts: Know When They Need to be Replaced

Shocks and Struts: Know When They Need to be Replaced

If, when you’re driving, you feel excessive bounce and sway, you most likely need new shocks or struts. They are a very important to the suspension system in your vehicle. Your shocks or struts will give you a smooth ride, but they are also vital to keeping the tires in contact with the road surface. If they need to be replaced, your safety is at risk. In this article, you will learn about the shocks and struts – how to know when they need to be replaced and how to maintain them.

The first thing you need to know about shocks and struts is that your vehicle is equipped with one or the other, never both. The suspension system in your vehicle has very large springs over each wheel. When you drive, the springs move up and down and generate energy. Without the struts or shocks, your vehicle would begin to bounce and sway excessively. The struts and shocks dampen the movement of the springs and stop back and forth movement along with bouncing. The difference between the strut and the shock is that a strut is a structural part of your vehicle’s suspension system and a shock is not.

When it comes to struts, they are responsible for more than dampening the movement of the spring. A strut is a vital part for the alignment of the wheels. In fact, it’s a pivot point for your car’s steering system. When you replace the struts on your vehicle, you will also need to have a wheel alignment done. Though vital to the smoothness and safety of your ride, shock absorbers are quite different than the struts. A shock absorber works in conjunction with the springs to compensate for irregularities in the road surface. As you drive, the energy generated by the springs is transferred to the shock absorber which lessens road vibrations and prevents excessive bumping and swaying motions.

Driving is a vehicle that has worn shock absorbers or struts can be a serious safety issue. Shocks or struts that need to be replaced will increase the stopping distance for your vehicle. You’ll notice more bouncing, rolling and swaying in the car body. Turning corners safely will also become an issue. Worn shocks or struts will cause the tires to wear out quicker and you will be spending a lot more on gasoline. If you notice any of these signs, the certified technicians at Geller’s Automotive in Byram, New Jersey, can help.

While your vehicle’s suspension system and steering system is fairly dependable, both require maintenance. Here’s how:

  • Make sure the ball joints, tie-rod ends and other parts of the steering system are well lubricated.
  • Regularly check the power steering fluid to make sure it’s not low and is in good condition. If you find you have to add steering fluid, you have a problem with the steering system and should have it checked out right away.
  • Have the tires rotated regularly – checking the steering and suspension systems to make sure there are no problems.
  • Have a wheel alignment performed on a regular basis, especially if you hit a curb or drive over a big pothole.
  • Have the shocks or struts replaced approximately every 50,000 miles. If your vehicle has shock absorbers, you will need to have all four replaced at the same time.

Need new shocks or struts? Schedule an appointment in our auto repair shop in Byram, NJ.