Car Care: How to Tell if Your Car Needs New Shocks

Shocks are an important part of a safe and properly functioning vehicle. When they start to fail or become worn out, there are several signs that can be an indicator to you. Some of the symptoms of improperly working shocks can be hazardous and should be addressed as soon as possible. Here’s what to look for.

Unusual Sounds and Bouncing
Rattling, creaking, and squeaking sounds are often indicators the shocks in your vehicle are on a downward spiral. Bouncing may accompany these sounds, or occur without any. Bouncing is most noticeable when driving over elevated surfaces, such as speed bumps and railroad tracks, but may also occur on flat roads.

The Vehicle is Harder to Control
In addition to bouncing, it becomes more difficult to control a vehicle in need of new shocks. Your car may swerve excessively, nose dive when going over bumps or when braking. It may also lean heavily to one side when turning corners. Driving a vehicle that exhibits these signs is dangerous, and should be taken to a mechanic as soon as possible to have the shocks checked.

It Takes Longer to Stop
When shocks are no longer functioning appropriately, it may take longer for a vehicle to come to a complete stop after braking. Delayed braking is a hazard, not only to the driver of the vehicle, but everyone on the road. Have the vehicle serviced right away, or avoid driving it until it is possible to do so. 

There is Uneven Tire Wear
Uneven tire wear is often a sign the shocks are ineffective. It occurs because the vehicle bounces up and down when driven and causes the rubber tread to break off and wear down, creating an uneven surface. There may be craters or bald spots on the tires as well. Taking the vehicle to a tire center, such as Evans Tire & Service Centers, is important. The technicians will be able to determine if worn out shocks are the source of the problem.

The Steering Wheel Vibrates
Sometimes the steering wheel will vibrate when shocks start to go bad. The faster a vehicle is going, the stronger the vibrations become. If the steering wheel vibrates too much, it may become difficult to control, creating an unsafe situation for everyone around you.

If any of these signs are present, take your car to be inspected and serviced by a professional mechanic. To prevent the situation from becoming dangerous, have it checked and serviced at regular intervals and replace shocks as needed. Keep in mind, a vehicle that regularly carries heavy loads or that is driven on uneven road surfaces will require more frequent service and shock replacement.