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Shocks and struts are not easy to inspect, despite the fact that critical are highly susceptible to everyday wear and tear, that which effects the ride and handling. Most people do not even know what to look for, or where they are located (you will find them behind your tires, approximately in the middle of the tire). A visit to your local tire shop will solve your questions in a few minutes. It is recommend that you have them checked at 50,000 miles, This maintenance time that helps owners improve ride and handling performance and ensure adequate steering, handling and braking response in emergency situations, sooner if you are experience an unusual ride, stability or your car is diving forward when you are slowing or stopping. The shock absorber is not a weight supporting device, and serves only as a damping device for the spring or torsion bar suspension system. The shocks keep the springs from oscillating freely after the wheels roll over road irregularities. The strut shaft is also the shock absorber shaft, so it must be able to handle both vertical and horizontal load. It is a structural suspension member that takes the place of the upper control arm bushings and upper ball joint. They are not used to hold up loads in your automobile, that is the job of the springs. Your Shocks and Struts play key roles in maintaining consistent, firm tire-to-road contact by absorbing impacts and reducing vehicle pitching and rolling. Without fully functional shocks and struts, your car tires can easily lose traction, leading to reduced steering and braking control. Worn out shock absorbers can cause your vehicle to need more distance to brake, than those that are in good condition. Unfortunately, shocks and struts wear out gradual, the drive might not notice any change in handling, only when they are advised of the problem, does one notice the difference in ride and handling. A light film of oil on the upper portion of the shock absorber & tube body is ok. If your shock absorber is dripping fluid, that is a sign of leakage, and the unit should be replaced. Do make sure that the leak or drip is coming from the shock and not something else. Having your shocks replaced, takes less than an hour. Interestingly, they are not terribly expensive, considering what they do towards road worthiness and safety for your car. Many small (not sport models, which are designed with handling in mind) autos lack quality and handling performance. The low mass of the vehicle combined with a lightweight strut suspension and rack & pinion steering means there is little comfort built in. Many small cars also fail to handle extra weight well, and bottom out when loaded with additional passengers and any cargo one can squeeze in. Also, the inability to haul much extra weight is one of the most common complaints from small car owners. Occasionally, when a vehicle is in an accident or simply by riding up on the curb, the strut can get bent, you have no option but replace it. When replacing shock absorbers, you will find that there are different ones suited for different purposes. Some for off road, some for sturdy ride and some for a real comfortable ride. Make sure you have the shop you purchase from explain the different applications, and which one is best for your car. Most often, you simply want to replace that which came with your vehicle.

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