A car is an intricate piece of machinery with thousands of parts, ranging from tiny nuts and bolts to larger and more intricate components. And like any system, if a single part goes bad, it can impact the entire vehicle, making maintenance much more important. Two such parts that can greatly impact your vehicle’s functionality are shocks and struts. But unlike some other well-known car parts, most car owners are unaware of how their car’s shocks and struts work, including when it’s time to replace them.
What Are Shocks and Struts?
A vehicle’s shocks are part of the overall suspension system that helps give you a smoother ride while driving. After all, feeling every little bump on the road wouldn’t be ideal for any drive, whether it’s a lazy Sunday drive or your daily commute to work. Shocks help another piece of equipment called coils absorb the impact from the road and disperse it evenly so that your tires stay in constant contact with the road.
On the other hand, a strut combines the shock absorber and coil while providing general structural support for a vehicle. They come in pairs with every tire and cannot be interchanged.
Common Signs of Worn Shocks and Struts
Fortunately, there are some common signs you can look out for that indicate your shocks and struts are starting to go bad, though a professional diagnosis at an auto shop is your best way to know for sure. Still, should you notice any of the following signs, your shocks and struts may be due for a change soon, so don’t hesitate to take your vehicle to a repair shop as soon as possible to replace them.
Unusually Bumpy or Rough Ride
One of the first indicators that your vehicle’s general suspension system is having problems is a bumpy or rough ride, regardless of the type of road you’re driving on. Watch for any sudden lack of response from your vehicle when you hit a small bump in the road. This may indicate that your tires are not maintaining constant contact with the ground as they should.
Uneven Wear on Tires
If some of your vehicle’s tires are making uneven contact with the ground or making contact in the wrong place due to a thrown-off alignment, you may notice uneven wearing or cupping.
As your vehicle’s suspension system and alignment become hindered due to bad shocks or struts, you may notice that the vehicle becomes harder to handle at high speeds or when hitting minor bumps. You may also notice this instability when turning the vehicle or applying more pressure than normal to your brakes.
Unusual Noises or Swaying on the Road
Finally, any usual swaying in the road, whether when driving straight, turning, or braking, could indicate bad shocks and struts. Additionally, if you hear odd noises, such as knocking or banging while driving, it could also be a sign that you have a failing suspension system, which bad shocks or struts could cause.
Typical Repair Costs for Shocks and Struts
Assuming you have identified that your shocks and struts need to be replaced, it’s important to know what to expect in terms of cost. Depending on your vehicle, suspension shock and strut replacements can range from $796 to $885 on average, making it one of the more expensive repairs you may need for your vehicle. Still, you can help delay it by practicing preventative maintenance and driving your car on even roads.
Fortunately, most shocks and struts won’t need to be replaced for around 50,000 to 100,000 miles on average, but you should refer to your owner’s manual to see the specific recommendation for your vehicle. Despite the expensive cost, you should not delay seeking this repair work if needed, as bad shocks and struts pose a danger to your vehicle’s entire suspension system, which can be even costlier to repair.
Protect Your Vehicle Today
Whether handling everyday maintenance or a larger repair task, ensuring your vehicle is protected against anything is important. After all, a vehicle is an investment that can either be used for years to come or, if treated improperly, it can break down faster than it should. But with the right extended warranty, you can protect your vehicle when it comes to expensive and unexpected breakdowns and repairs.
Not sure where to start? No worry, as you can look at our reviews of top-rated extended warranty providers to find the coverage you need to ensure your vehicle is protected.