How often should I replace my shocks and struts?

Extreme Closeup Of Yellow Shock Absorber Underneath A CarShocks and struts are the most important factor if you want your car to have a smooth, comfortable ride.  Shocks and struts are reliable last much longer than many other parts in your car, but they’ll still need to be replaced with time. 

Shocks and struts should always be replaced at the same time.  Unlike some steering and suspension components, the left and right shocks/struts tend to wear down at the same rate.  If the left shock or strut is damaged, there’s a good chance the right side also needs to be replaced.  For front versus rear, the wear levels can differ depending on terrain and vehicle usage.  However, generally speaking, when front shocks or struts need replacing, so do those in the rear. You can find the exact maintenance schedule for replacing your shocks and struts in your owner’s manual or by contacting your dealer.  The general recommendation is that shocks and struts should be replaced every 50,000 to 100,000 miles.

Here are some factors to help you determine if it’s time to replace your shocks and struts.

Bumpy Rides
When driving on rough roads, does your car bounce excessively or bottom out?  A bumpy or shaky ride is an easy way to tell if your shocks and struts need to be replaced.  First, check your tires to make sure they are not over-inflated.  If your tire pressure is correct then your shocks and/or struts are the likely culprit!

Braking Issues
When struts are worn or damage, the vehicle can sometimes experience instability with braking.

Steering Problems
Poor steering response is another tell-tale sign of worn shocks or struts.  The steering wheel may be still or difficult to turn, or it may be exhibiting strange noises.

Depending on vehicle, many cars require shock and strut replacements sometime around fifty thousand miles.  Maintaining shocks and struts can prevent long-term damage to your car, so it’s always better to be proactive and get your suspension checked every fifty thousand miles rather than waiting for something to go wrong.

This is usually not a clear indicator, but sometimes if your tires show unusual wear patterns it may be time to replace your shocks and struts.

Visually Damaged Struts
While strut damage is usually felt and not seen, you might notice visibly damaged or dented struts or shocks. Fluid leaks in the area are also a possibility when a car needs replacements.