When struts get worn out, they definitely make for a negative driving experience. More importantly, bad struts can also cause damage and excessive wear on other parts of your vehicle like your tires.
What are Struts?
You’ve probably heard of car struts mentioned alongside shocks as well. When talking about “shocks and struts,” we are referring to the parts of the vehicle responsible for shock absorption and stability over rough road surfaces. There are in fact key differences between these two parts:
- Struts – are a part of your car’s suspension system and assist in supporting the weight of the vehicle. They can also influence your car’s alignment due to the fact that they are typically a part of the steering system – pivoting as the wheel turns.
- Shocks – Unlike struts, shocks do not support your vehicle’s weight and are not a part of the steering system. They do control spring and suspension movement to provide a smoother ride.
The majority of struts used today are called MacPhearson struts – named after their inventor Earle MacPhearson. The MacPhearson strut combines the shock absorber and coil spring into one assembly. This design allows the strut to serve the duel purpose of absorbing shock while driving and supporting your car’s weight. The strut also serves as the pivot point for steering knuckles, which attach to the wheel and tire. Another less common type of strut is the modified front suspension strut. Its wishbone shape allows for a lower ride height and makes the vehicle more aerodynamic.
How to Tell When Your Struts Need Replacement
- Knocking or thumping noise while driving – Especially if you are experiencing such noises when going over bumps, a knocking or thumping noise should clue you in that there is a problem with the struts. This could also be an issue with your sway bar or suspension in general, but it is common to experience these noises with a worn strut.
- Rough ride – As your struts start to get worn out, you will start to experience a more bumpy ride. The front or back ends of your vehicle may also begin to dip more while braking or accelerating.
- Body roll when turning – Worn struts could cause excessive body roll while turning. This results in worse handling and less effective steering.
- “Cupped” tire wear – Tire wear over time is normal, but a cupped pattern is usually a sign of bad struts. When the wear on the struts renders them too weak to keep the tire intact with the road, the vehicle’s alignment is thrown off, resulting in the uneven tire wear.
- Fluid leak – Struts contain hydraulic fluid that may leak when the strut gets too worn.
- Bouncing while braking – Bad struts can cause your vehicle to bounce a little while braking, increasing your stopping time as well.
- Steer pulling – Damaged struts will hurt your car’s alignment so much so that your car may start to pull to one side while steering.
Getting Strut Maintenance
If you notice any of the signs above that something may be wrong with your car’s struts, you need to get the issue addressed by a car care professional right away. The simplest way to save money on your strut maintenance is to book your service through CarAdvise. Book at a trusted shop near you with CarAdvise and pay less than the shop price!