SHOCKS, STRUTS, AND SUSPENSION REPAIR
Your vehicle relies on many different systems and parts to function smoothly. While you may know it’s important to take care of the engine, brakes, and other commonly-known components, it is also essential to regularly maintain the other vital parts of your vehicle.
Your vehicle’s shocks, struts and suspension play an important role in providing a comfortable and safe ride. That’s why it’s important to ensure your struts or shocks are replaced once they reach a certain mileage.
The Motorist Assurance Program experts have determined that the useful life of a strut or shock concludes at approximately 50,000 miles. Here at Sun Devil Auto, we recommend that you have your shocks, struts and suspension visually inspected each time you have your vehicle serviced.
We can take a look at these vital elements of your vehicle and let you know if there are any problems that may be affecting the comfort or safety of your ride.
Shocks and struts are part of the suspension system, and help prevent excessive movement while driving. By the time you have driven 50,000 miles, your shocks or struts have oscillated around 88 million times.
Car Suspension Repair Near Me
Sun Devil Auto proudly serves the Phoenix valley metro with locations in Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Fountain Hills, Maricopa, Queen Creek, Cave Creek, Glendale, Sun Lakes, and Sun City West.
Find a location today to service your shocks, struts, and/or suspension; our knowledgeable team of ASE certified Technicians and Service Adivsors are ready to assist you and answer any questions you may have.
Signs to Inspect Shocks or Struts
When your vehicle is nearing 50,000 miles or is exhibiting the following symptoms, it’s time to have your struts or shocks inspected and potentially replaced.
Here are of the most common signs to watch for:
- Noticeable swaying or bouncing while driving (rough ride)
- Leaning or “pulling” while changing lanes or turning
- Unusual sound originating from the suspension system
- Dipping forward of the front end when braking
- Original parts that have not been replaced for 50,000 miles
- Visually inspecting for strut or shock for oil leaks which indicate they have lost their charge.
If your vehicle is showing these warning signs, it’s best to have your vehicle inspected right away. There’s no reason to wait to replace the components of your suspension system. Because of new and improved technologies, in many cases, the aftermarket strut or shock is better engineered than the original factory installed parts.
What’s more, Sun Devil Auto offers a lifetime warranty on parts including a 12 month or 12,000 mile labor warranty (whichever comes first) to the original purchaser.
To help make your ride smoother, stop by one of our 20 Phoenix Valley locations and let our ASE Certified technicians take a look at your suspension system today!
UNDERSTANDING YOUR SUSPENSION SYSTEM
Your vehicle’s suspension system is made up of many different parts designed to connect the frame to the wheels. When working properly, the suspension system allows for the ideal amount of motion and stability between the wheels and the vehicle body. A healthy suspension system performs several additional important functions, including:
- Keeping tires firmly on the road’s surface to extend tire life
- Stabilizing steering for easy of handling and safety
- Minimizing road noises and vibrations for increased comfort
- Facilitating effective braking for maximum safety
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What Are Struts and Shocks?
As part of the suspension system, each vehicle whether equipped with shocks or struts, is made to absorb and resist excess movement to prevent a bumpy ride. However, the most important reason your vehicle is equipped with shocks or struts is to make sure your tires maintain contact with the road at all times.
What are shocks?
Contrary to popular belief, shocks do not support the weight of your vehicle and instead convert motive energy to thermal energy that is dissipated through hydraulic fluid. Shocks are meant to control spring and suspension movement. When a vehicle travels over a bump it causes the spring to coil and uncoil and the energy from the spring is transferred to the shock.
What are struts?
Struts are actually a structural component of your vehicle’s suspension system and are designed to shoulder a heavier load. Like shocks, struts provide resistance to control the spring and suspension movement while also providing support to the vehicle’s suspension.
What Is a Car Suspension?
The suspension system is attached to the vehicle’s frame or chassis of the vehicle as well as the steering. The entire suspension system is composed of springs, shock absorbers, struts and linkages that connect the vehicle to its wheels allowing for relative motion between the two. Suspension contributes to the handling of the road by stabilizing steering, keeping tires on the road’s surface, and braking, for both safety and comfort. The suspension system also prevents road noises and helps reduce bumps and other vibrations.
Shock and Strut Replacement Process
Shock and strut replacement can vary from a quick and simple task to a complicated scenario involving many hours and special tools to perform.
The average shock replacement varies between 1-2 hours. Some newer model cars can require removal of some interior trim panels to access mount brackets or bolts. There are a few model cars that could require equipment to support the suspension system while performing these repairs. Most shocks will have one of two style mounts: stud or bolt style. Stud shocks are mounted with rubber cushions while bolt style are mounted with a bolt through the shock mount bushing that is secured to the vehicle.
In some models, there may be rear air shocks that are adjusted externally by pumps mounted under the vehicle for additional pressure to compensate for heavier payload and leveling as needed.
The newest improvement in shock absorption is the Air Suspension that is controlled by an onboard compressor system that has possible controls for height adjustment or suspension comfort adjustments. The more challenging issue with these system is now there is a potential for electrical or sensor problems that can lead to what could be perceived as a shock issue. This sort of issue could pose a challenge to diagnose and may require special tools or computer software to resolve.
Frequently Asked Questions About Shocks and Struts
Q: Does a car need an alignment after replacing struts?
A: When completing a suspension strut replacement, almost every car will require an alignment to be performed afterward. Struts are often attached to the suspension components that have the alignment adjustment built into them and even the slightest inaccuracy can lead to excessive and premature tire wear, a crooked steering wheel, and/or pulling in one direction.
Conversely, for shock replacements, an alignment is unnecessary unless steering components were moved or affected in order to perform the replacement of the shock assembly.
Q: How long do shocks and struts last on a car?
A: Most manufacturers of original factory shocks and struts state that the typical lifespan of their ride control products last between 50,000 – 60,000 miles. Of course, there are situations where that mileage can be reduced by excessive rough roads and even excessive heat that can alter their performance. In some cases, we have seen struts or shocks requiring replacement in as little as 30,000 miles. In more and more vehicles today, shocks and struts can also have a large effect on optimum brake performance and stopping distance. Frequent inspections to check for leakage or other indicators should be performed often to ensure proper operation and condition.