Q: How do I know when I need suspension work?
A: Symptoms include heavy leaning or swaying on corners or ramps, rocking or swaying on lane changes, excessive bouncing on dips or bumps, and nose diving at stops.
Q: How often should I have my suspension system checked?
A: Any time you have your vehicle on a lift is an opportunity to inspect your suspension and other under car systems. You should always have your suspension, alignment, and steering inspected before you buy new tires. If problems are not corrected, your tires will wear pre-maturely.
Q: I’ve heard that you can tell whether shocks need to be replaced by pushing down on the front and rear bumpers. If the car takes more than a second or two to stop bouncing, you need new shocks. Is this true?
A: Not really. Take your car to a trained auto technician with proper diagnostic equipment. Modern auto suspensions are engineered and manufactured to close tolerances and are part of a complex and interrelated system with steering and wheel alignment. Tolker Auto Service is your headquarters for expert inspections and repairs.
Q: How long can I expect my shocks to last?
A: Most auto experts recommend that shocks be replaced at 50,000 miles. That’s about the time, that many drivers also need to replace their tires. If you drive on rough roads, or off road, you may need to replace your shocks earlier.
Q: How do shocks work?
A: Shocks are mounted between the vehicle frame and the wheels. When the bounces, dips, and jolts are transferred from the wheels to the springs, the shocks reduce the bouncing and vibrations. Modern shocks are essentially twin tubes, one inside the other, that are filled with a dampening medium. Most use a combination of hydraulic oil and compressed air or nitrogen. Inside, a piston rides up and down within the oil, eliminating excessive vertical and horizontal motion.
Q: Why do I need shocks?
A: A springs-only suspension system would give you an extremely bouncy ride. Without some type of suspension, you would feel every bump in the road.
Q: Why do I need to replace my shocks?
A: Overtime, shocks wear out. Think about it, they bounce up and down an average of 1,000 times or more per mile. That’s 50 million compressions over their expected shock life of 50,000 miles. Sometimes, shocks can go before their time. They can leak the hydraulic oil that cushions your ride. And because shocks are on the underside of the car, they are susceptible to nicks, bends, and other damage. Worn shocks not only compromise the comfort of your ride, but stopping distance, steering, and roll control.
Q: How do worn shocks affect braking distance?
A: When your car nose dives, it takes longer to come to a complete stop. A study by the Royal Automotive Club showed that shocks working at 50% efficiency added 12 feet to the stopping distance of a car traveling 60 miles per hour—117.8 feet versus 104.8. That could be the difference between hitting and missing a hazard in the road.
Q: What are the differences between and a shock and a strut?
A: A strut is a heavy-duty shock mounted inside of a coil spring. Also, struts provide some structural support, not just control excessive weight transfer.
Q: What are torsion bars?
A: Torsion bar suspension systems are common on pick-up trucks and sport utility vehicles. Torsion bars are a type of spring. The vehicle frame attaches to a lever or arm perpendicular to the torsion bar. As the vehicle bounces the bar twists and acts as a spring.
Tolker Auto Service
427A E Diamond A ve
Gaithersburg, MD 20877
+1 301 869-9360+1 301 869-9360
+1 301 947-8689
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