Need Struts or Shocks ?

Need Struts or Shocks ?

When struts and shock absorbers should be replaced

Shock absorbers and struts are parts of the vehicle suspension that absorb shocks from the bumps and potholes and keep your vehicle riding smooth and stable. What is the difference between a shock absorbers and a strut?

A strut is the shock absorber built into one unit with the coil spring. Any car has four struts/shock absorbers; one at each wheel. Most cars and SUVs have struts in the front suspension and shock absorbers or struts in the back.

Struts and shock absorbers are maintenance-free units. Does this mean that they never have to be replaced? A strut or a shock absorber doesn’t need to be replaced unless there is a problem with it or if you just want to upgrade your ride with new shock absorbers. The most common problem with shocks and struts is when they start leaking.  Struts and shock absorbers are filled with oil. If during a regular inspection, your mechanic noticed that a strut or shock absorber is leaking, it must be replaced, as it will stop working without a sufficient level of oil. Sometimes a shock absorber may stop functioning even without visible leaks.

What are the symptoms of a bad shock absorber or strut? Symptoms include bounciness and/or knocking when driving over bumps. You may also notice that your car swings up and down more, like a boat. To pinpoint a weak or failed strut or shock absorber, your mechanic may do a quick “bounce test” where each corner of the vehicle is pushed down and quickly released. The corner with the weak shock absorber will keep bouncing up and down longer, while the corner with the good unit will rebound slowly and will not bounce more than twice.

Another common reason to replace struts is after hitting a major pothole, curb or after an accident. In any of these cases, the strut might be bent, which may not be visible. Driving with a failed strut or shock absorber is not safe. In addition, if one shock or strut is not working, there is more load on the other three, which will cause them to fail sooner.

Do you have to replace both shock absorbers or struts if only one is bad? It’s not necessary, but it’s usually recommended to replace them in pairs, for example, both front struts or both rear shocks. This is because a new shock absorber will absorb road bumps better than the old one. If you replace only one shock absorber, it may create “unevenness” from side to side when driving over bumps. However, if your car is not very old, replacing only one strut or shock absorber may be enough, since the opposite side is not worn out yet.

Do coil springs need to be changed when replacing the struts? The answer is no: if the spring is in a good shape, it can be re-used with the new strut.

If one coil spring is bad, is it necessary to replace both? The answer is a bit tricky: coil spring sag over time, so if you put the new spring on one side and leave the old one on the other side, the side with the new spring may ride a bit higher than the opposite side. However, if your car is not very old and you are replacing the broken spring with the OEM part, it might be OK to replace just one. Of course, your mechanic might recommend replacing both springs to keep your suspension “even”, but again, it’s not necessary.

The cost to replace struts can run from $600 to $850 per pair. When struts are replaced, in most cases the wheel alignment must also be performed. The wheel alignment costs from $79.99. Replacing struts involves removing the coil springs that are under high tension. For this reason, it’s not something that can be easily done at home as a DIY project. It’s best to trust this job to your mechanic as most repair shops  have a special spring compressor tool that can safely assemble or disassemble a loaded strut.

- Jason Harris; Service Manager at Auto Aces Express

2666 N. Packerland Dr., Green Bay, WI., 54313; ( 920 ) 499 - 4424

" Your Problem Solved ! "

[php snippet=2]

[php snippet=1]

Noisy Serpentine Belts ?

Noisy Serpentine Belts ?

When to change your Serpentine belts

Some vehicles have two drive belts, but most modern vehicles have a single belt, called a serpentine belt. It’s a reinforced, ribbed rubber belt that delivers power to your alternator, air conditioning, power steering, cooling system, and other components in your vehicle.

Usually, these belts don’t require maintenance, and will last up to 150,000 miles. Of course they’re not going to last forever, and once they fail, your vehicle isn’t going to go anywhere. That’s why you should have regular inspections, and have your drive belt replaced if you notice any problems.

So, how do you know if you need to replace your drive belt? Here are a few clues.

Noisy Drive Belt

This is the biggest tip off that you have a drive belt problem that shouldn’t be ignored. If your serpentine belt is squealing, it’s time for an inspection. Maybe it’s just water on the belt, which isn’t a huge issue. If you’ve been driving through torrential rain, you can expect some squeaking. But if the squeak is due to leaking or spilled motor oil, that’s a whole other ball game. Oil is the kiss of death to the belt, so make sure you don’t have any leaks.

Belt Wear

Before your belt fails, it will usually show signs of wear. If the ribs facing the pulley are missing chunks, it’s not necessarily the end of the world. Many belts will function quite well with a few bits missing. But if there are a lot of chunks gone, or if several notches appear close together, replace the drive belt right away – this is just a disaster waiting to happen. If one side is wearing unevenly, you could have a misaligned belt. This could be a problem with the pulley.

Cracks and Rot

Cracks and rot are, of course, indications that you should replace the drive belt. Any crack that’s more than halfway through the belt has to be replaced immediately.

If your drive belt is damaged, don’t take chances. You could drive for miles without a problem, or you could end up stranded by the side of the road. Worst case scenario, a damaged belt could cause extensive damage to other vehicle components. When in doubt, it’s best to replace.

- Jason Harris; Service Manager at Auto Aces Express

2666 N. Packerland Dr., Green Bay, WI., 54313; ( 920 ) 499 - 4424

" Your Problem Solved ! "

[php snippet=2]

[php snippet=1]