Your automotive suspension system consists of many wearable parts such as bushings, springs, ball joints, shocks and struts. The most commonly discussed components are the shocks and struts, which prevent the body of the vehicle from bouncing when going over bumps. Bouncing can cause the tires to leave the ground slightly, which makes the vehicle less stable, lengthens braking time and wears the tires prematurely.
Signs that your shocks and struts are worn are:
- Hopping wheels, nose diving on hard braking and nose lifting on hard acceleration
- Vehicle continues to bounce after stopping
- Poor handling (vehicle seems to be uncontrollable when driving over bumps)
- Oil leaking from struts or shocks
- Pre-mature tire wear such as "cupping"
- Noise coming from the shock or strut area
A suspension inspection should be performed once per year to ensure that the components are not worn. Worn out suspension components pose a threat to the driver, passengers and others on the road.
Shocks and struts are replaced in pairs and are generally worn out by 80,000KM (especially on Saskatchewan roads!)
A wheel alignment is always recommended when replacing a suspension component.