Shocks and struts perform an important task
Shocks and Struts Do
and struts influence the control and handling characteristics
of your vehicle while holding the tires to the road. They control
the action of the spring to resist bottoming out - like when
you hit a pothole - and keep the movement of the springs under
control when they rebound. Without shocks and struts, a vehicle
would continually bounce and bound down the road, making driving
is important that shocks and struts are in top condition during
the winter months," says James Plogger, vice president
of sales for Gabriel Ride Control Products, Inc. "It is
recommended that vehicle owners have their vehicles' ride control
systems checked by an ASE certified service technician."
provide resistance by forcing hydraulic fluid (oil) through valves
in the piston as it moves up and down. Because the oil cannot
be compressed, only a certain amount of fluid can be forced through
these valves, which creates resistance to the vehicle movement.
Premium shocks and struts are superior to regular hydraulic shocks
because air in the shock is replaced by pressurized nitrogen gas.
This advancement in technology prevents bubbles from forming in
the hydraulic fluid. These bubbles, called foaming, reduce the
ability of shocks to provide resistance and prevent bounce. Gas
shocks also quicken the response of a shock's movement, thereby
increasing comfort and control.
To Tell If Shocks And Struts Need Replacement
normal conditions, shocks and struts wear out gradually. However,
many factors can affect how much wear is actually occurring
and at what rate it is occurring.
example, two people buy the same vehicle new off the dealer
lot - one lives in the city close to the office, and drives
mostly on straight roads. The other lives in the country, 45
miles from the office and must travel ten of those miles on
a winding, often muddy gravel road. Because shocks operate in
an extremely hostile under-vehicle environment, where anything
from gravel to ice, and snow to grit can affect the life of
the product, it is a good bet that driver number two will need
to replace his shocks long before driver number one," explains
piston rod can easily be nicked or damaged by flying gravel
allowing grit and dirt to damage the piston seal. Among signs
of worn shocks or struts:
- Do you experience
excessive bounce (three or more bounces) when crossing an
- When stopping
quickly does your vehicle rock back and forth?
- While applying
your brakes firmly at higher speeds, does your vehicle drift
left or right?
- When changing
lanes quickly does your vehicle rock or sway from side to
components contribute to handling. Having your vehicle inspected
if you experience any of the above signs is good preventive
as a public service by Car Care Council