|How many miles do shocks and struts last?
Experts recommend replacement of automotive shocks and struts at 50,000 miles. Testing has shown that original equipment gas-charged shocks and struts degrade measurably by 50,000 miles. For many popular-selling vehicles, replacing these worn shocks and struts can improve the vehicle’s handling characteristics and comfort. Unlike a tire, which rotates a specific number of times per mile, a shock absorber or strut may compress and extend several times per mile on a smooth road, or several hundred times per mile on a very rough road. There are other factors that affect the life of a shock or strut, such as, regional weather conditions, amount and type of road contaminants, driving habits, loading the vehicle, tire/wheel modifications, and the general mechanical condition of the suspension and tires. Have your shocks and struts inspected by Ralph Honda once a year, or every 12,000 miles.
How do I know when my shocks or struts need to be replaced?
It’s relatively easy for most vehicle owners to determine when their tires, brakes and windshield wipers are worn out. Shocks and struts, on the other hand, aren’t nearly as simple to inspect, in spite of the fact that these safety-critical components are high susceptible to everyday wear and tear. Shocks and struts should be inspected every time it is brought in for tire, brake or alignment services. During a road test, a technician may notice an unusual noise originating from the suspension system. The technician may also notice that the vehicle exhibits excessive bounce, sway, or front end dive during braking. This could warrant additional inspection. If the shock or strut has lost a large amount of fluid, if it is bent or broken, or if it has damaged brackets or worn bushings, it should be repaired or replaced. Generally, replacement of parts will be required if a part no longer performs the intended purpose, if the part does not meet a design specification (regardless of performance), or if a part is missing. Replacement shocks may also be installed in order to improve the ride, for preventative reasons, or to meet a special requirement; for example, load-assisting shock absorbers can be installed for leveling a vehicle that is often used for to carry additional weight.
What will happen if I don’t replace worn shocks or struts?
Shocks and struts are an integral part of your suspension system. They will work to prevent suspension parts and tires from wearing out prematurely. If worn, they could jeopardize your ability to stop, steer and maintain stability. They also work to maintain tire contact with the road and reduce the weight at which vehicle weight transfers among the wheels when negotiating corners or during braking.
Does my vehicle need to be aligned after I have my struts replaced?
Yes. We recommend alignments anytime replacement struts are installed. However, there are a few exceptions where the vehicle manufacturer does not provide alignment provisions, or where the alignment angles are not affected by a strut replacement. Examples include certain double wishbones, some modified type of struts, and suspension systems which utilize shock absorbers.
The steering wheel on my strut-equipped vehicle does not return to center after negotiating a corner. What could be causing this?
The main cause for this is a strut bearing plate that will not rotate freely due to contaminants, over-torqued rod nut, or wear. Other cause can include: low tire pressure, incorrect alignment angles, and binding steering components such as ball joints, tie-rod ends, and steering rack.