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How to Inspect Shocks and Struts

The shocks and struts in your vehicle are responsible for more than just a smooth ride. They help control braking, steering and handling.

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Step 1: Watch an Overview Video

Step 2: Check the Suspension System Yearly

These critical parts of your car's suspension system should be inspected every year or 12,000 miles and replaced if necessary. Check to see that your shocks are not bent, broken or leaking oil and that the seals and lubricant boots are not torn or split.

On many older cars, conducting the "bounce test" is a good way to determine if your shocks/struts are worn and need replacing. This applies only to older models. To perform the "bounce test," push the front bumper as low to the ground as possible and let go. Healthy shocks should rebound into place quickly. If the shocks are worn, the front of the car will bounce up and down more than twice before settling back into place.

Step 3: Replace Parts Every 50,000 Miles

A vibrating steering wheel, uneven tire wear, or excessive bouncing after stops are also signs that you may need to replace your shocks and struts. Since shocks and struts work together, and wear out together, always replace the entire set. Every 50,000 miles you should replace the strut mouths along with the shocks and struts. If you drive an SUV or pick up, consider upgrading to a premium shock absorber. It can really improve your ride and handling.

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