What you need to know about shocks and struts


Shocks and struts. You know your car needs them. But what are they?

“The job of the shock and strut is to keep the tire in contact with the road and to control the bounce of the vehicle,” said Doug McAllister, owner of Douglas Automotive, in Crystal Lake.

Their performance starts to degrade at around 50,000 miles.

“That doesn’t necessarily mean they need to be replaced, but if we see a problem with it in our shop, or a ride concern at over 50,000 miles, it could be a candidate for new shocks and struts.”

McAllister listed seven handling characteristics to look for with your vehicle.

if you notice these, “It’s a pretty good indication that you’re going to need shocks and struts,” he advised.

1. Body roll – excessive leaning when making a lane change.

2. Traction loss – A little skipping or stuttering sensation on acceleration.

3. Harshness or a buckboard ride – the car just doesn’t ride well anymore. It’s kind of bouncy or harsh, especially on a rough road.

4. Nose-diving upon stopping – the nose of the car dives toward the pavement on braking, upsetting the balance of the vehicle, and can increase stopping distance.

5. Bottoming out – the suspension can cause a harsh “bottoming” feeling.

6. Acceleration squat – accelerating causes the back of the car to squat down, upsetting the balance of the car.

7. Tire cupping – a visible, choppy wearing of the tires, causing them to wear out faster and creating road noise.

“You would definitely want to think about changing the shocks and struts on a higher mileage car before putting an expensive set of tires on it,” McAllister said. “That’s the one service we can do where a customer will really notice the difference. The car will feel so good the minute you drive away.”

Douglas Automotive | 815.356.0440 |

Diane Krieger Spivak

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