Forget those Hollywood scenes with cars bouncing up and down wildly from broken shocks. A car with broken shocks won’t rock wildly like you see in the movies, though more bouncing than usual is a signal of failing shocks. It makes sense; cars and trucks have shocks to create a smoother ride and minimize any bumps from an uneven road. Here are other ways to tell if your shocks need to be replaced.
Tire wear, by itself, is not a sign that you need to replace shocks. However, tires with cupped wear are a sign that it’s time to make an appointment to get your shocks replaced.
Slow steering response
A car or truck slow to respond when driving, or with stiff steering, can be a sign of a worn shock. Your car may also make a sound when steering; your mechanic can diagnose the issue at your next oil change appointment.
Leaning during turns
If you feel your car lean during turns or when changing lanes, the culprit could be your shocks. Take your car to the mechanic to check your shots and look for other obvious signs that your shocks need to be replaced, such as a fluid leak.
Another red flag that your car’s shocks need to be replaced is the classic “nose dive.” A “nose dive” is the sensation felt when the brakes are applied, caused by the nose of the car lurching forward.
Since the main function of a shock is to minimize bouncing when driving, it’s no surprise that one of the most obvious sign is excessive bouncing when driving. To make sure your shocks are the cause, test the shocks in your driveway. When the car is stopped, push down on a corner of the car and see if it bounces when you release the pressure.
If you don’t want to wait and watch for signs of failing shocks, use 50,000 miles—the average benchmark of worn shocks—as a benchmark. Talk to your mechanic and schedule a regular replacement of your shocks every 50,000 miles.