Should I Replace Shocks and Struts at the Same Time?

Close-up of a vehicle's shock over the wheel. Suspension system of a modern car.

Shocks and struts are the key components of your vehicle’s suspension system. Cars manufactured these days either use shocks or struts or a combination of the two. If you are taking in your vehicle for a suspected suspension issue, you can likely expect the technicians to suggest the replacement of your shocks or strut, or even both. If you are wondering if it is necessary to replace for your shocks and struts at the same time, it is first important to know their role in your vehicle.

What Do Shock Absorbers Do?

Shocks or shock absorbers control the compression and rebound of the springs by converting their kinetic energy into thermal energy that is dissipated through the hydraulic fluid. A car’s shocks ensure that its tires are in contact with the road at all times. Without shocks, the wheels on your vehicle will bounce off the road and vibrate erratically.

What is the Role of Struts in a Car? 

Struts are the structural component of a car’s suspension. They are usually used on the front end of front-wheel drives. Like shocks, struts perform a shock dampening function. They control the movement of the spring as it compresses and rebounds while driving. They also support the weight of the vehicle. Struts are available in different sizes. They usually weigh 0.87 to 1.85 lbs. per foot.

The Million Dollar Question: Should I Replace My Struts and Shocks Together?

Like other components of your car’s suspension, the shocks and struts are not supposed to last a lifetime. They wear out over time and should be replaced every 50k miles, depending on the vehicle’s make and model.

Ignoring damaged or worn-out shocks and struts can be a dangerous mistake. Properly functioning shocks and struts help you control your car when you turn and brake. Worn-out struts and shocks can compromise your vehicle’s safety by affecting its ability to handle crosswinds, extra weight, and bumps. Bad shocks and struts also cause damage to the other components of your vehicle.

Some warning signs of worn shocks and struts include rear-end squat during acceleration, unusual tire wear, and excessive car bounce.

Ideally, you would want to replace shocks and/or struts on all four wheels of your vehicle at the same time to ensure better handling and a consistent response on both sides of your car. If this is not possible, replace shocks and struts in pairs.

Tips to Maintain Shocks and Struts

Regular maintenance can extend the life of your shocks and struts. Periodic maintenance addresses current problems and prevents potential issues from occurring. It can save you headaches and money on repair and replacement down the road.

Here are some ways to care for your struts and shocks:

  • Have a professional take a look at your suspension at least once a year or every 12,000 miles
  • To prevent damage from corrosion, periodically wash and wax the underside
  • When driving in stop-and-go traffic, slow down gradually and brake smoothly to prevent excessive wear and tear on your shocks and struts
  • Keep your tires properly inflated

GreenTech Automotive is one of the most trusted car repair shops in Santa Rosa. We help our customers keep their vehicle in top shape year-round. To schedule strut replacement in Santa Rosa, call (707) 545-7076.