How Long Does a Shock Absorber Last?

Your car has a suspension system that provides dampening of shocks and jarring while driving on the road. The suspension also helps improve vehicle handling. There are many different types of suspension systems out there, but the most common by far is a combination of shock absorbers and struts. On older cars, shock absorbers are used on both the front and rear wheels, but modern cars use them primarily on the rear wheels, with strut assemblies on the front.

Both shocks and struts work in a similar way. They use either compressed gas or liquid to help absorb the lateral (up and down) movement of your car caused by bumps, dips, speed bumps, potholes and more. Your shock absorbers are in use any time the car is moving (and even when it’s not). That means they’re subjected to a lot of wear and tear, and they will eventually fail. In fact, they’re considered a normal maintenance item, and they should be replaced relatively regularly. You should also have your shocks and struts inspected at each oil change.

In general, a shock absorber should last at least 50,000 miles before you need to have it replaced. However, the real determining factor is where you drive and how you drive. For instance, if you do a lot of off-road driving, or spend a lot of time on dirt roads, your shocks will wear out much more quickly. If you do primarily highway or interstate driving where the roads are smooth and level, they may last well beyond the 50,000-mile mark.

Once your shocks begin to wear, they’ll fail quickly. What happens is that the end seals begin to wear. Eventually, they will fail. The gas or liquid inside the shock absorber will then leak out. In a liquid-based shock, this can be seen as moisture on the top of the shock absorber or running down the side of the assembly.

Because your car’s shock absorbers have such a dramatic role to play in handling and comfort, it’s important to know the signs that indicate you have a failing or failed shock. These include:

  • Knocking or bumping from the rear suspension

  • Vehicle does not sit level

  • Feeling that the rear end is “loose” while going around turns

  • The rear end bounces more than it should

  • Jarring ride over rougher roads

  • Even small bumps are very noticeable

If you think your shocks are in need of attention, YourMechanic can help. One of our mobile mechanics will come to your location, inspect each shock absorber and replace them if needed.


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Ronald

41 years of experience
301 reviews
Ronald
41 years of experience
Chevrolet Avalanche V8-5.3L - Shock Absorber Replacement (Rear) - Houston, Texas
Very efficient and respectful of property. Suggests things that should be done without pressuring you to do it now.
Toyota Tacoma - Shock Absorber Replacement (Rear) - Cypress, Texas
Ron is an exemplary professional. He listened to the customer concerns and His attention to detail is why I would recommend him. I think it would be hard to find someone at his level of professionalism.

Larry

16 years of experience
114 reviews
Larry
16 years of experience
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 V8-5.3L - Shock Absorber Replacement (Rear) - Hilliard, Ohio
Called before appt due to heavy rain. Came early, completed the work in less time than quoted. Friendly.
Honda Pilot - Shock Absorber Replacement (Rear) - Dublin, Ohio
Mr. Larry Dust is very trustable person. His skill was excellent. I am so happy that he fix my car. Thank you Larry.

Walter

46 years of experience
341 reviews
Walter
46 years of experience
Toyota RAV4 V6-3.5L - Shock Absorber Replacement (Rear) - Tulsa, Oklahoma
Excellent mechanic, very knowledgeable, professional and expedient. Could not be happier with his work.
Jeep Grand Cherokee - Shock Absorber Replacement (Rear) - Tulsa, Oklahoma
Walter is a great Mechanic. With very Informative procedures about maintaining my Vehicle. This is the Third time Walter has worked on a Vehicle for me. He Always does a great Job.

Edvin

22 years of experience
28 reviews
Edvin
22 years of experience
Honda CRX L4-1.5L - Shock Absorber Replacement (Front, Rear) - Pasadena, California
Edvin is very friendly and knowledgeable about my honda. Good to have such an experience mechanic work on my car.

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Pretty bumpy ride - are struts and shocks the same?
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New gas struts installed groaning noise like rubber on metal can or should you grease them?
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