How Long Can You Drive With Bad Shocks and Struts?

Shocks and struts are a part of the suspension system and have a function to ensure a stable and safe driving. They are the most overlooked part of the suspension system.

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How Long Can You Drive With Bad Shocks and Struts?

How Long Can You Drive With Bad Shocks and Struts?

How long can you drive with bad shocks and strutsOpens in a new tab.

If your shocks and struts go bad, you should take your vehicle to the repair shop. If towing your car is not an option, you should drive your car carefully to the repair shop and have to shocks and struts replacedOpens in a new tab.

Driving with badOpens in a new tab.

The biggest safety risk of driving with a bad strut or shockOpens in a new tab.

How To Diagnose a Bad Strut or Shock

1. Visually inspect the tires for wear

Why Is My Front Tire Wearing On The Inside

Start off with a good visual inspection of the tires. If you have bad shocks or strutsOpens in a new tab.

One good tell-tale sign that you have badOpens in a new tab.

2. Leaking oil on and our the shocks and struts

You want to reach where the shocks and struts are located and inspect and make sure you don’t have an oil leak. Check the area where the piston goes through because there’s a sealer there. If the sealer around the piston fails, it’s going to allow the oil that’s inside your shock absorber to leak out.

If that happens you can lose the dampening effect of your strut assembly. Also, if you have a leak there, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the fault of a seal. It could also simply mean that the internal parts of your strut or shock assembly are failing and causing too much friction and heat. That excessive heat is making the oil expand and leak out where the seal is.

3. Perform a bouncing test

The classic bounce test is when you put your hands on the front fender or on the side where you suspect you have bad struts or shocks and you bounce the car. If the car goes down and moves back up and stabilizes, generally speaking, you have a good strut and shock.

However, this is not a perfect test because most of the carOpens in a new tab.

4. Wobbly steering wheel when you drive

If your steering wheels wobble back and forth a little when you drive down the road and hit a bump, your shocks and struts might be failing or have already failedOpens in a new tab.

That’s because when you hit that bump, your spring is moving up real quickly and rapidly moving your suspension. As a result, you’re entering out of tie rods around causing your steeringOpens in a new tab.

5. Excessive body roll around turns

Excessive body roll-around turns can also be a sign of badOpens in a new tab.

But, if you feel that the body roll is excessive as you turn your car, that is a clear sign of failed shocks and struts. This happens because the shocks and struts are not dampening the effect of the springs. They are not compressing on the left side and decompressing on the right side quickly enough.

What Happens When Struts Go Bad?

How Long Can You Drive With Bad Shocks and Struts

What happens when struts and shockers go bad? When struts and shockers go bad and you are drivingOpens in a new tab.

As you’re driving and your car goes over a bump, the springs in your car quickly compress and as you driveOpens in a new tab.

Your car is just going to be bouncing non-stop going down the road. So, as your spring compresses, your strut will decompress with it as well slowly and in a controlled fashion.

Then there is the increased braking distance. If your shocks and struts are bad, when you press the brakes, the bodyweight of the car is going to shift on the front side and there will be not enough weight on the back of the car to ensure traction. Basically, the back brakes on the car will be engaged but the tires will not have enough tractionOpens in a new tab.

Igor Iwanowski

I am a certified Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) mechanic since 2018. I specialize in Brake systems, dashboard warning lights, EGRs, general engine problems, EVAP and Emissions issues.

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