Do you take pride in the fact that your car provides you with smooth and comfortable rides? Then, you will have to give credit to your car’s interior. Just like your car’s seatbelt protection, other parts of the car are also designed to make your journey stress-free. If you have a comfortable ride with your car, one reason is that shocks absorb the shocks to the suspension.
Consider this, suppose you are driving on the road smoothly; all of a sudden, you have to apply the brakes. This sudden movement would have created some shocks in the car that could have impacted you significantly. However, with these shocks, they absorb most of the impact. Like every other part of the machine, these shocks are also prone to wear and tear. In this article, we will look at how long do shocks last and things to do to ensure their maintenance.
How Long Do Shocks Last?
Many car experts would say that car shocks last for four to five years only. Even though car shocks are vulnerable to regular wear, tear and even great damage, in exceptional cases, they don’t really have a definite expiration date as far as their malfunctioning is concerned. Similarly, they don’t automatically become useless after your car has driven a certain mileage. Whether or not your car shock absorbers are effective will be determined based on their performance. Sounds confusing? Let us explain ourselves. How quickly your car comes to a stop, etc., will help you determine whether the shocks need to be replaced.
For example, if your car is taking longer than usual to come to stop, it indicates that your shock absorbers are faulty. Cars with damaged shock absorbers take a longer distance to come to a stop – approx 20% more than what it normally takes to come to a stop. This faulty behavior can lead to severe accidents in case you miscalculate the time and the distance it takes for your car to come to a complete stop, once you’ve applied the brakes.
Another hint to look for when you are driving is to see whether your car is diving as soon as you step on the brakes. This will not only cause some damage to your car, but it is also very critical when you are driving on wet roads or in icy weather. In case you notice that your car shocks are causing your car to dive, you should get them replaced instantly. Because of the worn-out car shocks, your car will vibrate when you’re driving. When you are driving at slow speeds, these vibrations will not cause much discomfort. However, at fast speeds, these vibrations may turn into a hazard as they may cause you to lose control of your car.
Other Signs of Problematic Shock Absorbers
Cars with subpar shocks also tilt to one side. In fact, in some cases, they can even slide wildly in that direction. Also, this is not necessarily caused by any external factor. And while strong winds would cause the car to slide uncontrollably, this could happen even when there are weak winds outside. All of this indicates that car shocks of your vehicle are not working fine. So, before you wait for any untoward incident to happen, you should get the shocks replaced promptly.
If you have been wondering whether some visuals can help you identify the fault in your vehicle, here we will talk about the signs that can help you identify what is wrong with your car. You don’t have to be an expert in the field to inspect for faulty shocks. Oil stains are the most visible sign of a defective car shock, mostly caused by a failing damper. Check for this discoloration either behind the wheels or on the suspension. Defective car shocks make rides uncomfortable and even put you in a dangerous situation. Hence, it is critical to change them as soon as you start feeling that something is wrong with your car.
Why Do Shocks Have this Life Span?
Many car experts suggest that car shocks can only work for a total of five years. As discussed above, the actual life of the shocks is dependent on how you drive your car, the load you carry, etc. Therefore, it is possible that, based on your driving habits, your car continues to have well-functioning shocks. Coming back to the question that people often ask, why do shocks have this life span? Since car shocks are responsible for reducing the impact your car would have felt when it comes to a sudden halt; they are essentially converting the kinetic energy to heat. This continuous working is what makes the car part vulnerable to wear and tear. If you drive on long routes on a daily basis, you are more likely to deal with faulty shocks even sooner.
How to Extend the Life of Your Car’s Shocks?
Truth be told, there is not a lot that can be done to prolong the life of car shocks. However, there are a few steps that you can carry out for the proper maintenance of the car shocks. To make sure that they don’t wear out quickly, what you can do is to make sure that you clean them periodically. Make sure to specially clean the parts that slide in and out of each other. The main purpose behind keeping them clean is to make sure that the shocks are free from any foreign matter. You can use a high-pressure cleaner to get rid of unwanted foreign matter.
Car shocks are also likely to wear out due to faulty mounting points. Similarly, overtightening the nut on the shocker’s pin end can also result in car shocks failure. Make sure that you are not facing any such problem. Your proper maintenance and regular cleaning of car shocks will go a long way in extending the life of your car shocks. However, it is important to note that car shocks may begin malfunctioning even when you are taking proper care of their maintenance. So, be on the lookout for the visual signs and other hints that indicate faulty car shocks to prevent yourself from encountering any untoward incident.
Should You Already Replace Your Shocks?
Driving your car with faulty shocks is basically giving an open invitation to a dangerous and untoward incident to happen. The best way to have a safe journey is by ensuring that all car parts are functioning smoothly. In the above sections, we described in detail what to inspect in your car when searching for a faulty car shock. Here, we will quickly summarize the warning signs that you have to look for.
- Poor steering response
- When changing lanes or turning, the car leans or sways
- The car bounces excessively
- Unstable braking performance
- Stiff steering performance
- The car doesn’t sit flush
All of these signs indicate that something is wrong with the car shocks. Without wasting any time, you must get them replaced. Your timely response will save you from a horrible and costly road accident.
How to Get Your Shocks Replaced
Once you have identified that your car is facing the problem of faulty shocks, you should now work on replacing them. For this, you will have to use sophisticated tools like spring compressors, etc. Since the handling of such products can get a little tricky, it is better that you don’t experiment with it on your own. Our recommendation would be you take your car to the local mechanic shop to get the job done. Changing shocks means jacking your vehicle, removing the old shocks, disconnecting them from the suspension, and removing them from the top and bottom bolts. And then installing the new ones that also require a great degree of caution. Even though the instruction manual will help you get the work done, it is still important to let the expert take care of this.
The Final Word
Uncomfortable journeys are a big no. There is no denying the fact that faulty car shocks can be quite dangerous. Their disadvantage is not limited to providing unpleasant rides. The best way to keep yourself safe in such conditions is to pay extra attention in its maintenance. As discussed above, there are plenty of signs that will tell you that something is possibly wrong with the shocks. Without wasting any time, you should focus on replacing the shocks so that you can always enjoy pleasant rides.