Shocks & Struts
How do I know if my vehicle really needs new shock absorbers?
You need new shocks (and/or struts) if your original shocks (or struts)
are worn out, damaged or leaking. Leaking is easy enough to see (just look
for oil or wetness on the outside of the shock or strut) as is damage
(broken mount, badly dented housing, etc.). But wear is often more of a
subjective thing to judge. There are also instances where the original
equipment shocks may not be worn, damaged or leaking, but may not be
adequate for the job they're being asked to do. In such cases, upgrading
the suspension with stronger, stiffer or some type of special shock (or
strut) may be recommended to improve handling, for trailer towing, hauling
overloads or other special uses.
Shocks and struts do not require replacing at specific mileage intervals
like filters or spark plugs, but they do wear out and eventually have to
be replaced. How long a set of original equipment shocks will last is
anybody's guess. Some original equipment shocks may be getting weak after
only 30,000 or 40,000 miles. Struts usually last upwards of 50,000 or
But when exactly a shock or strut needs to be replaced is hard to say.
Because the damping characteristics of shocks and struts deteriorate
gradually over time, the decline in ride control often passes unnoticed.
So by the time you think you need new shocks or struts, it's usually way
past the point when they should have been replaced.
One way to evaluate your need for new shocks or struts is to consider how
your vehicle has been handling and riding lately. Does it bounce
excessively when driving on rough roads or after hitting a bump? Does the
nose dip when braking? Does the body roll or sway excessively when
cornering or driving in crosswinds? Does the suspension bottom out when
backing out of the driveway or when hauling extra passengers or weight?
A "bounce test" is still a valid means of checking the dampening ability
of shocks and struts. If the suspension continues to gyrate more than one
or two times after rocking and releasing the bumper or body, your shocks
or struts are showing their age and need to be replaced.
Why Replace Them?
Weak shocks and struts won't necessarily create a driving hazards if
you continue to drive on them, but there are studies that show worn
shocks increase the distance it takes to stop a vehicle on a rough
surface. Increased body sway due to weak shocks or struts can also
increase the risk of skidding on wet or slick surfaces.
shocks and struts also increase suspension wear (though marginally)
but can have an effect on tire wear.
The reason why most people decide to have worn shocks or struts
replaced, however, is to improve overall ride quality. If you're
sick of bouncing and rocking on rough roads, a new set of shocks or
struts will firm up your suspension and restore proper ride control.
If you're interested in performance handling, you can upgrade to
premium "gas" charged shocks or struts. These are charged with high
pressure nitrogen gas to help minimize foaming in the hydraulic
fluid inside the shock. This lessens "fade" on rough roads and helps
the vehicle maintain better ride control when cornering.
There are also "heavy-duty" replacement shocks and struts that have
larger diameter pistons than stock. These too, provide increases
resistance for greater control -- but may be a little too harsh for
everyday driving. So some shocks have special valving or adjustable
valving that allows the amount of resistance to vary.
Another option to consider if you tow a trailer or haul extra cargo
are overload or air-assist shocks. Overload shocks have a coil
spring around them to increase the load carrying capacity of the
suspension (these also tend to ride stiffer than standard
replacement shocks). Air-assist shocks have an adjustable air
bladder that acts like a spring to carry extra weight. With this
type of shock, air can be added on an "as needed" basis when hauling
Shocks and struts are generally replaced in pairs -- though this
isn't absolutely necessary if only one shock or strut is leaking or
has suffered damage at a low mileage.
require a fair amount of suspension disassembly as What's more, the
wheels must usually be realigned after replacing a strut. For this
reason, you're probably better off letting a professional replace
and Struts in Omaha
Suspension Problems In Omaha?
Suspension systems should continue to
operate effectively for many years and tens of thousands of miles, holding your tiresí foot print on
the road. Eventually components do wear out, but how long that takes depends a lot on how you
As you can imagine, if most of your driving is on smooth NE highways, your SUV shock absorbers will
last a lot longer than if you do most of your driving on bumpy Omaha roads or hauling heavy loads. In
addition to just wearing out, upgraded shock suspension components can be damaged in an accident or by
a hard impact Ė like a pothole, hitting a curb or a rock in the road.
Because the life span of shocks can vary so widely, your vehicle manufacturer recommends periodic
inspections. During a car inspection at Westgate High-Tech Auto Care, your Omaha service
technician will check for worn, broken or missing suspension parts. If the inspection reveals any
problems, take care of this important safety and handling work. When you replace your shocks, itís
usually a good idea to replace all four at the same time. Thatíll give you even handling at all four
corners of the vehicle.
If you have special road handling needs like improved cornering or towing or hauling requirements
in Omaha, your Westgate High-Tech Auto Care advisor can recommend an upgraded shock or strut to get
you what you want.
At Westgate High-Tech Auto Care, we have been providing quality auto repair in Omaha for 12 years. Ask
manager Dan Loveless about brake service and headlamp service.
Letís talk shocks and struts.
Shock absorbers and struts last a long time and wear out pretty slowly for most SUVs and other
autos in the Bennington area. Theyíre easy to take for granted, but your shocks and struts do a very
important job so you need to pay attention to them. They keep your tires on the road; and your tires
are what connect your vehicle to the road and allow you to safely handle your car through turns, over
bumps and even stop in time.
When your shocks and struts are worn, your tires bounce excessively over bumps in our Bennington
roads. Your vehicle will wallow through corners; your front-end will dive when you stop; and your
rear-end will squat when you accelerate. All this hurts your ability to control your vehicle. And your
ride just isnít as comfortable.
Worn shocks or struts cause excessive tire wear so youíll have to replace your tires sooner than you
should. Worn shocks and struts also stresses other suspension and steering parts causing them to wear
prematurely. Struts are actually a major structural component of the suspension system; thereís a lot
riding on them.
Replacing worn shocks and struts saves money in the long run for our local Bennington drivers Ė and of
course you canít really put a price on your safety and that of your passengers. We generally recommend
replacing shocks and struts at 50,000 miles.
When itís time for new shocks or struts, weíve got you covered in Bennington. We can give you back the
ride and handling of a new vehicle. And if you have special needs we can help you there too. We have
premium shocks and struts thatíll improve your performance. We can even help you with upgraded,
heavy-duty shocks thatíll give you the confidence you need to handle those big towing or hauling jobs.
Experts recommend replacing all four shocks at the same time so that handling is even at each wheel.
If you need new shocks or struts, let us help you take care of this important safety service. Youíll
feel better, and youíll save money on tires and other suspension repairs down the road.
You can find us online at
Westgate High-Tech Auto Care, or you can find us in Omaha, NE 68144 at 12300 West Center Road. Or
simply give us a call at 402.397.8144.
At Westgate High-Tech Auto Care in Omaha NE we install quality NAPA replacement parts. To learn more
about NAPA AutoCare, visit