Carworx Ltd - Shocks & Springs Replacement
When to replace shocks & springs on your car. Your suspension soaks up the bumps in the road, keeping you comfortable and safe by allowing your brakes and tires to work as designed. Let's look at the major components and then talk a little about what can go wrong.
Spring: Springs allow your car to absorb the energy of a bump or pothole, without jarring the occupants of the car. Most cars have 4 springs made from spring steel and wound in a spiral shape. Some cars have transverse (across) springs and are made from fiber-glass or other composite materials. Made to last the lifetime of the vehicle, properly sized springs seldom need to be replaced.
Shock: Shocks work to dampen the springs natural tendancy to oscillate. A good way to test your shocks is to push on a corner of your car and observe how many times the car bounces. More than twice and your shocks are worn. The shock is designed with fluid/gas and internal passages to control the movement of the wheel and dampen the spring, over time the fluid/gas can leak, degrade or the valving can become damaged.
Strut: Just a fancy unit that combines the spring and shock in to one unit. Usually a little more labour to remove the spring when replacing the shock (strut cartridge)
Sway or Roll Bar: When cornering the forces want to roll your car's body to the outside of the turn. You feel this same force sitting inside the car. The Sway Bar counteracts this force and helps to keep the inside wheel in contact with the ground. Stiffer Sway Bar rates give a firmer ride, but better handling.
Ball Joints: Your suspension is designed to move up and down with the road. This is accomplished with control arms which are connected to the spindle by ball joints. They are what they sound like, a ball and socket joint which allows movement in two dimensions. Most modern ball joints are lubricated with grease, and are sealed. Older ball joint and some newer truck ball joint do have a grease fitting to allow adding grease.
Spindle: The spindle serves as the center point for your wheel, and rotor to rotate around. The spindle also connects to the lower control arm and upper control arm or MacPherson Strut. Through the travel of your suspension the spindle should remain as parallel to the road as possible. Suspension geometry is designed to keep as much of the tire in contact with the road as possible.
CV Shafts & Joints: Constant velocity joints, or CV joints as they are commonly known, are attached to each end of the drive shaft. They connect the axles to the wheels and transmission.CV joints are necessary because they transfer torque at a constant speed to the wheels. They also accommodate the up and down motions of the suspension system.CV joints are packed with grease which is held in place in a rubber or plastic protective cover called the CV joint boot. It’s also referred to as the drive axle boot, and it’s where most CV joint problems begin.If the boot becomes cracked or broken, the grease can begin to leak out while dirt and moisture begin to get in. This can make the CV joint corrode, dry out and ultimately fail. As you can imagine, having the joint that connects the axle to the wheel fail is not a good thing.That’s why it is important to have your CV joint boot inspected regularly.
Universal Joint: Your car’s smooth ride depends on your vehicle’s universal joints working properly. Universal joints are only one part of keeping your car working at peak performance, but it’s an important one. Proper maintenance keeps your car working not only smoothly, but running safely as well. Out of sync universal joints have an adverse affect on your car’s wheel alignment (or can even leave you stranded.) You may feel your car pull to the left or the right, feel a strange vibration or shimmy in your steering wheel. Extra wear and tear may also appear on your tires. Universal joints, which connect the drive shaft to the drive axle should also be inspected during every oil change.
Rack & Pinion Steering Systems: Rack and pinion is the most popular type of steering system used in today’s cars. Keeping your steering and suspension running well is not only important for safety reasons, it also enhances the comfort of your car.We can help you maintain your rack and pinion steering system by checking the power steering pump belt, fluid level and condition, hoses, and the unit itself. In the event you need an entire new system, our experienced technicians can professionally replace your rack and pinion for both domestic and import vehicles.
Shocks and struts can wear out and affect handling. If you car bounces excessively over bumps and leans hard in corners, your shocks could be worn out. Look behind the wheel for the shock or strut and look for leaking oil. This is a sure sign of a worn shock or strut. Also check your owners manual, some will give a mileage estimate for shock or strut life. As a general rule shock replacement depends on driving style and road conditions.
Ball joints wear and can cause your car to wander while driving down the road. This is dangerous as they can separate and cause you to lose control.
Sway bar bushings can wear out over time and will allow the sway bar to clunk when turning corners or at low speeds. A fairly inexpensive part to replace, but gaining access can be tricky depending on the vehicle.
Check your shocks or struts for leakage frequently. Also pay attention to how your car handles. If you notice the ride deteriorating take your car in to have the struts checked.
Ball joints should be checked when your car is inspected, if not, have your mechanic check them at least twice a year. At each oil change make sure you or your mechanic lubricates the ball joints and any other suspension components. Some components can not be lubricated as they are sealed from the factory.