How to tell if you have worn out shocks or Struts!
Often, it's difficult to spot worn shocks or struts, because they wear out so gradually that you get used to the difference in ride comfort and control. Generally, the first indication of shock problems will be cupping of the tires (small chunks of rubber dug out around the circumference of the tire).
Excessive bouncing after hitting a bump, excessive lean going around corners or nose diving when braking are other less noticeable indications of worn shocks Oil seepage at the shock is another warning that the shocks are not working as designed, however, this generally requires a close inspection under the vehicle to spot.
Remember, there are different types of shock absorbers that provide different types of ride control and comfort. Sport cars require a stiffer type of shock than a luxury sedan and 4x4's have even stiffer shocks than any others. Durashock also offer a range of shocks designed to provide stability under load and comfort where you need it. Shock absorber designs have improved immensely over the years and the consumer must specify the type of ride control that is important to them and then consider the advice offered by one of our Durashock representatives, in the purchase of the appropriate shock to fit their needs.
What is the difference between shocks and struts?
Shock absorbers and struts are quite similar in some ways. They both dampen the bounce of the tire and stabilize the vehicle.
McPherson Struts, however, are an integral part of the front and/or rear suspension of the vehicle. The strut assembly provides the upper suspension and wheel turning support. It is an integral part of the suspension geometry and directly affects the vehicle tracking.
Shock absorbers are installed inside or near the coil spring, leaf spring or torsion bar. They are not an integral part of the suspension system and as such do not affect vehicle alignment. Also, if broken will not keep the vehicle from being driven. A broken McPherson strut may keep the vehicle from being driven because of the potential loss of steering control.
Struts are much more expensive than shocks because they are more a part of the vehicle and take the place of many components that must be used in the conventional front suspension
WHen is it time to replace my vehicles shocks or struts?
You need new shocks (and/or struts) if your original shocks (or struts) are worn out, damaged or leaking. Leaking is easy enough to see (just look for oil or wetness on the outside of the shock or strut) as is damage (broken mount, badly dented housing, etc.). But wear is often more of a subjective thing to judge. There are also instances where the original equipment shocks may not be worn, damaged or leaking, but may not be adequate for the job they're being asked to do. In such cases, upgrading the suspension with stronger, stiffer or some type of special shock (or strut) may be recommended to improve handling, for trailer towing, hauling overloads (GVM increases) or other special uses. Shocks and struts do not require replacing at specific kilometre intervals like oil changes or filters, but they do wear out and eventually have to be replaced. How long a set of original equipment shocks will last is anybody's guess. Some original equipment shocks may be getting weak after only 50,000 or 65,000 klms. Struts usually last upwards of 80,000 or 100,000 klms.
But when exactly a shock or strut needs to be replaced is hard to say. Because the damping characteristics of shocks and struts deteriorate gradually over time, the decline in ride control often passes unnoticed. So by the time you think you need new shocks or struts, it's usually way past the point when they should have been replaced.
One way to evaluate your need for new shocks or struts is to consider how your vehicle has been handling and riding lately. Does it bounce excessively when driving on rough roads or after hitting a bump? Does the nose dip when braking? Does the body roll or sway excessively when cornering or driving in crosswinds? Does the suspension bottom out when backing out of the driveway or when hauling extra passengers or weight?
A "bounce test" is still a valid means of checking the dampening ability of shocks and struts. If the suspension continues to gyrate more than one or two times after rocking and releasing the bumper or body, your shocks or struts are showing their age and need to be replaced.
If you have any doubts please contact your nearest Durashock Suspension Specialist and arrange a time to drop your vehicle over for a FREE suspension check.
Why replace them?
A shock absorber’s main purpose is to control the
oscillations of the spring by absorbing any excess energy generated by the spring (whether it be coil, leaf or torsion bar) when the tyres hit bumps or potholes or any other inconsistency in the road surface. In an extreme example of this, a vehicle with badly worn and inefficient shock absorbers could start bouncing so badly that it will actually lift the wheels off of the ground as it bounces wildly in the air while driving on a undulating country road or even along a highway with a few small rises and hollows in the right sequence. Even moderate uncontrolled bouncing of the vehicle, though, is sufficient to reduce effective tyre to road contact and severely compromise the vehicle’s braking ability and cornering ability.
Worn shocks and struts can increase suspension component wear but will have a much greater effect on tyre wear. If the shocks are really bad, the tyres can develop a cupped wear pattern . The reason why most people decide to have worn shocks or struts replaced, however, is to improve overall ride quality. If you're sick of bouncing and rocking on rough roads, a new set of shocks or struts will firm up your suspension and restore proper ride control and comfort
If you're interested in performance handling, you can upgrade to premium "gas" charged shocks or struts. These are charged with high pressure nitrogen gas to help minimize foaming in the hydraulic fluid inside the shock. This lessens "fade" on rough roads and helps the vehicle maintain better ride control when cornering.
There are also "heavy-duty" replacement shocks and struts that have larger diameter pistons than stock. These too, provide increases resistance for greater control -- but may be a little too harsh for everyday driving. Therefore some of our shocks have special valving or adjustable valving that allows the amount of resistance to vary.