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3 Signs of Worn Shocks and Struts to Look For After Automotive Training

Published on July 15, 2021 by in Blog, CATI

Mechanic at work in his garage

Worn shocks and struts can result in more than just a rough ride—they also compromise the safety of a vehicle. The shocks and struts are responsible for stabilizing the vehicle’s movements, improving the ability to turn, brake, and accelerate. This is especially important when driving on uneven road surfaces, when vehicles require a little more stability. 

The two work by managing the shock and rebound actions of the car’s suspension. Not only does this make for a smoother ride, but it also keeps the tires in contact with the road. For braking, steering, and general driving functions, the vehicle depends upon the tires touching the road. As the shocks and struts are essential for maintaining control of a vehicle, it’s important to know when they are in need of some professional attention. Here’s a look at some common symptoms of worn shocks and struts. 

1. Vibrations in the Steering Wheel

Many drivers may be familiar with the feeling of a vibrating steering wheel when going over rough and uneven road surfaces. However, if the vibrations persist on smoother surfaces, it may be time to visit a professional with automotive training

The shock absorbers are small oil pumps with a piston inside that work in coordination with the car’s suspension and springs. As the suspension goes up and down, the piston dispenses fluid to slow it down. When a vehicle is driving fast or on rough roads, the shocks push back with resistance to steady the motions. If the shock’s piston seal is worn out, the fluid can leak out of the piston and cause the shocks to overreact. The driver will feel this effect in the wheel vibrations, which may hinder control. 

Professionals with automotive training should pay attention to vibrations in the steering wheel

Professionals with automotive training should pay attention to vibrations in the steering wheel

2. Delayed Stopping Times

Worn shocks and struts can pose a real danger when it comes to braking. Driving with worn shock absorbers can ultimately increase a vehicle’s braking distance by 20%. For occasions when a sudden brake is needed, the impaired function can endanger the driver and passengers. 

A worn piston seal can result in an overflow of fluid and the piston moving out of control. When this happens, the car takes longer to take in the piston, which slows its stopping function. Many drivers may suspect that the delayed stop times are caused by a fault in the braking system. After automotive mechanics school, an experienced technician will be able to conduct a thorough inspection to identify any necessary repairs. 

Worn shocks and struts can increase a vehicle’s braking distance

Worn shocks and struts can increase a vehicle’s braking distance

3. Look Out for Uneven Tire Wear After Automotive Training

An obvious indicator of worn shocks and struts is uneven wear on the tires. The shocks are designed to keep the tires well-connected to the road. When the shocks are worn, they can’t keep the tires firmly on the ground. To perform their function properly, tires should maintain even contact with the road. Not only will this encourage a smoother driving experience, it will also reduce the likelihood of the vehicle running a flat tire. Without the force to control tire movement, the tires will appear hollowed out or patchy in certain areas. Auto mechanics should pay attention to these symptoms to know how to locate the problem area of a vehicle. 

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