Your vehicle’s shock absorbers are a very important part of a safe ride, and they do wear out, but since they last so long many drivers are unfamiliar with their maintenance needs. Luckily, replacing shocks is an easy DIY project to pick up if you want to learn to do your own auto maintenance.
Safe & Comfortable Trips
Car shocks are an integral part of your vehicle’s overall suspension design. They absorb the force of impacts from uneven road surfaces, small objects like stones in gravel, and other disturbances that could make a ride difficult to endure, too. Without working shocks, you would feel the force of every jolt when the vehicle hits bumpy terrain, which is not just a comfort issue but also a safety issue.
The extra stability that shocks provide also helps keep your vehicle from breaking down faster, because the other parts are not absorbing those jarring hits if the shocks are doing their job. They also take a lot of strain off the suspension coils, and if you drive with defective shocks for too long, damage to those coils can lead you to both needing replacement. Shocks are made to be replaced to avoid that situation, because suspension coils are not an easy job or a cheap one.
Maintenance & Replacement Guidelines
Every vehicle owner’s manual gives the basic maintenance rotation information for various replaceable parts and fluid systems, and that includes the shocks. The mileage given for recommended replacement is often a window, with the recommendation that you inspect shocks for performance degradation regularly from the time you enter the window. The recommendation also usually entails replacing them when you hit the high mileage mark even if performance is still good, mainly because they could fail unexpectedly past that point.
If you use aftermarket designs, the information from the part manufacturer should be used instead of the recommendation in your vehicle owner’s manual. This is important because some performance shocks are adjustable, and others have specific maintenance needs to maintain their high performance. In those cases, it’s always a matter of getting to know the part’s requirements, because those needs are very design-specific.
Replacement is easy and can be done with basic hand tools, but you do have to lift the vehicle and remove the wheels to access the shocks. Consult your vehicle’s repair manual for more specific information about installing any car replacement parts.
DIY Maintenance Tips
If you are going to learn to do all your vehicle’s regular maintenance, that means understanding the parts that are built to wear out, inspecting them regularly, and learning to plan for those tasks so the supplies are on hand before they are needed. That means understanding when to order the best brake pads for your vehicle and getting a knack for scheduling maintenance jobs together. It’s a lot easier to find project time for a radiator flush or brake pad replacement if you are already doing an oil change, for example.
The first step is to review your vehicle’s needs so you can inspect the systems that will either need maintenance soon or needed it before you knew. From there, it’s a matter of figuring out what you need to do at each oil change to stay ahead. Get started today.