Many drivers don’t realise that shock absorbers do more than control the movement of their vehicle’s springs and suspension system. They also work to keep all four wheels on the ground, preventing the vehicle from rolling. That makes shock absorbers a critical component, so you need to know how often to replace them for the sake of your car’s longevity – and your own!
So what is the magic number? How many years should shock absorbers last? Two years? Five years? Well, there’s no set time period, or even a specific mileage figure when it comes to the right time to replace your shocks. It depends on a combination of variables, including mileage, the quality of the roads you drive on and how carefully you drive.
If you’re city-based and drive carefully all the time on well-maintained, perfectly smooth tar roads, your shocks could last up to 10 years. But for those of us who may hit potholes from time to time and drive on dirt roads now and then, expect to get around 5 years from your shock absorbers.
Frequent driving on rocky, pitted dirt or gravel roads or carrying heavy cargo will wear down your shocks faster. And if you add careless driving, hard braking and swerving to the mix, you could be changing your shock absorbers even more frequently, even if you never leave the smooth city streets.
The bad news for city and country dwellers is that extreme cold in winter and salt on the roads will corrode your shocks, shortening their life a little each season.
Signs of worn shocks:
- Your steering wheel vibrates excessively
- Pulling or drifting when you turn corners
- Your car swerves or seems to lurch when you brake
- Your brakes don’t take immediately
- Rattling noises from the undercarriage
These are just a few of the red flags you shouldn’t ignore.