Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How Long Does a Shock Absorber Last?

shock absorber

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.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

How to Buy Fuel Treatments
Adding a fuel additive to your gas tank when you fill up is one way to clean vital engine parts of deposits, improve the performance of your engine,...
How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...


Related questions

Q: Shock Absorbers with variable adjustment suspension. 2001 Lexus ES300

This is possible, however, I would definitely not recommend doing this since the electronic suspension is part of the vehicle ride control. If this is not properly hooked up and maintained, there is a good chance you will likely run...

Q: I'm changing my AE92 OEM Corolla shocks to a KYB Excel-G model. Do I keep the same coil springs?

For most people replacing their springs along with the struts is an issue of budget. Since you are already upgrading the shock portion of the strut, you will also see an improvement with new springs. I definitely suggest replacing the...

Q: 2004 Ford Explorer unstable at 65-80 mph

First thing you'd want to do is change the shocks and struts on it. When they are worn, and the wind blows, it's going to go to go all over the place. It's going to start moving too far to...