Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Bad shock symptoms

Symptoms of a bad shock

Shocks are about more than comfort; they’re a safety item

Most people think that shock absorbers and struts are installed on a vehicle for passenger comfort. While good shocks do provide a more comfortable ride, they also aid in keeping your tires on the pavement which improves handling and reduces stopping distance. When shocks and struts wear out, you lose ride comfort and control and increase stopping distance. Here are bad shock symptoms.

Bad shock symptoms

Less Control Over Your Steering

Worn shocks allows your tires to bounce when they hit a bump. When your tires are in the air, they can’t control your vehicle’s position. Bad shocks make you fell like your vehicle won’t stay in its own lane on bumpy curves. You’ll also feel your vehicle sway more on turns and possibly feel like your vehicle is being pulled in another direction.

Worn shocks = More wear on all your suspension components and tires

This one is pretty simple: more tire bounce means more suspension component movement. More movement means more wear. So you’re not saving any money by postponing shock replacement. Drive on worn shocks and you’ll wear out your ball joints, tie rod ends, control arm bushings and stabilizer end links much faster.

Bad shocks damage your tires

Every time an airborne tire returns to the pavement, the contact scrubs off additional rubber; kinda like airplane tires do when the aircraft lands. The “divots” created by the tire recontacting the pavement creates “tire cupping” which causes tire imbalance, more tire bounce and rapid tire wear.

Test for bad shocks

You can test your shocks with a bounce test. Press on the fender of your car several times until you get maximum up/down movement. Then stop. A good shock will stop the up/down movement within 1 to 1-1/2 rebounds. A bad shock will allow the vehicle to continue rocking. If you see more movement than 1-1-1/2 it’s time to replace your bad shocks.

NOTE: This test only works with shocks, not struts. Struts are a whole different animal. Even a severely worn strut will pass the bounce test. For more information on how to test a strut, see this post.

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Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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