Steering & Suspension
At Dunn Tire we offer a wide variety of services to keep your vehicle safely on the road. We service steering & suspension and to check these systems it is FREE!
Is your vehicle bouncing as your drive down the road? Do you hear clunking or rattling noises when going over bumps? Do you hear squeaking or creaking when turning? These are all indicators that something may be wrong with a part in your vehicles steering and suspension systems. Come in and let our Dunn Tire certified technician evaluate your vehicle for free and give you an estimate for any repairs needed.
What are Struts?
Struts are parts of the vehicle's suspension system that helps absorb impact from bumps and potholes and keep your vehicle riding smooth and stable. Struts incorporate many suspension assembly parts – including coil springs and shock absorbers. All of these components affect your car's steering/handling, alignment and braking distance. Their main job is to act as shock absorbers while supporting the weight of the vehicle and to ensure a smooth ride.
When should struts be replaced?
Even on well paved roads the shocks can move up or down 1,500 to 1,900 times every mile: In 50,000 miles that can exceed 75 million cycles. Struts (and shocks) wear out over time, so the degradation is often not noticeable from day to day. Many motorists often do not realize how much handling and control is lost in their everyday driving routines. Replacing shocks and struts after 50,000 miles can keep the vehicle performing as well as it was designed and extend its life expectancy. Below are some potential warning signs that your struts may be nearing the end of their useful life:
- Your vehicle bounces and sways more than usual
- Your car bottoms out after going over a bump in the road
- The vehicle dips forward when braking
- The front of the vehicle elevates when accelerating
- You notice fluid leaking from the shock or strut
- The vehicle doesn't seem to drive smoothly – may seem rough or handles poorly
- Unusual tire wear – for example, high and low spots on the tread surface
Worn shocks and struts eventually cause a loss in ride control which can worsen to a degree that impairs your ability to control the vehicle. Road testing and vehicle inspections performed by one of our Dunn Tire qualified technicians is recommended every 12,000 miles. These inspections are to help identify and keep you informed about your current ride control conditions.
How do struts go bad?
The normal wear and tear of driving can take its toll on struts and shocks. The rate at which struts degrade depends on individual driving habits and the road conditions. An aggressive driver hitting frequent potholes will likely cause the struts to wear down faster.
The most common problem with shocks and struts is when they start leaking. This can happen over time or perhaps with a severe jolt from a pothole or curb. Unless you are a mechanic or knowledgeable with cars – it may be difficult to notice a leak or the source of it. These are generally things that are discovered during routine checkups, tire rotations or replacing brake pads.
If you have a leaking strut or shock absorber, it should be replaced immediately, as it will stop working without a sufficient level of oil. Sometimes a strut or shock absorber may stop functioning even without visible leaks.
Are struts hard to replace?
Replacing struts requires the proper tools, knowledge and safety precautions. For example, a spring compressor is needed in order to remove the strut tower. This can be a dangerous task for a novice. It's generally not a do-it-yourself project.
Can one strut be replaced at a time?
It's usually recommended to replace the struts in pairs, for example, both front struts or both rear shocks. This is because a new shock absorber will absorb road bumps better than the old one. If you replace only one strut, it may create "unevenness" from side to side when driving over bumps. However, if your car is not very old, replacing only one strut or shock absorber may be enough, since the opposite side is not worn out yet. It would depend on the condition of the existing strut.
How do struts and shocks work?
Struts perform two jobs: They help to minimize the bounciness of your vehicle and they provide structural support for the vehicle suspension. If your car only had spring coils, it would feel like driving a boat down the road. There would be nothing in place to "dampen" or control the unwanted up and down bouncing motion. Struts and shock absorbers slow down and reduce the magnitude of vibratory motions.
Because shocks and struts have so much to do with the handling of a car, they are critical safety features. Worn shocks and struts can allow excessive vehicle-weight transfer from side to side and front to back. This reduces the tire's ability to grip the road, as well as handling and braking performance.
If you have any questions about struts, shocks or your suspension system, we encourage you to give us a call or simply stop into the nearest Dunn Tire store. We're always happy to help.