The shocks and/or struts on your vehicle help to keep your ride smooth, reducing bouncing and rocking on rough roads. There are many possibilities of combinations of shocks and struts, depending on the vehicle type and purpose.
There is not a clear cut answer to when shocks or struts need replacing. If there are visible signs of leaking, or any obvious signs of damage such as a broken mount or a badly dented housing it is safe to say replacement is necessary. Also if your current struts or shocks are no longer adequate for the job they’re being asked to do, such as trailer towing or special hauling, an upgrade or replacement may be necessary.
Replacing worn out shocks and struts not only help by giving you a smoother ride. They also increase safety by helping your vehicle come to a quicker stop on rough surfaces and reduce body sway and risk of skidding on wet, slick surfaces.
Other things to consider are how your vehicle is handling and riding. Does it bounce excessively on rough roads or after hitting a bump? Does the nose dip when braking? Does the body sway excessively when cornering? Does the suspension bottom out with extra weight or hauling? These are all signs that it is time to do a “bounce test” to determine if your shocks or struts are showing their age and need to be replaced.
Because the deterioration of shocks and struts happen very slowly over time, the decline in ride often goes along unnoticed. When the new shocks or struts are installed, it often takes some time to get used to as well.