Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Shock Absorber

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Cost of Replacing a Bad or Failing Shock Absorber

Common signs include vibrations while driving, swerving or nose diving when braking, longer stopping time, uneven tire wear, and leaking fluid. Our certified technicians can come to you and diagnose the problem. You will receive a $30 credit towards any follow-up repairs that result from the diagnostic. Following are example prices for Shock Absorber Replacement. Click on the button below to get an upfront quote for your car.

Cars Estimate Parts Cost Labor Cost Savings Average Dealer Price
2013 Smart Fortwo $385 $188.60 $196.00 21% $489.60
2009 Ferrari F430 $286 $215.96 $70.00 11% $323.46
2011 Toyota Matrix $469 $202.76 $266.00 23% $611.26
2003 BMW 525i $709 $372.56 $336.00 20% $888.56
2014 Mercedes-Benz CL550 $2368 $2144.15 $224.00 4% $2488.15
2009 BMW M5 $1282 $1016.12 $266.00 10% $1424.62
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How to Diagnose a Bad or Failing Shock Absorber?

shock absorber

Want to know if it's time to replace your shock absorbers? Don't know what the symptoms of a bad or failing shock absorber are? First you need to know a little about how a shock absorber is designed. A shock absorber’s purpose and design is to help keep the tires on the ground on bumpy roads so that you, as the driver, can maintain control of the vehicle. Struts and shocks are designed the same, except that the weight of the vehicle is on the strut itself while a shock is merely a link between two suspension parts. They consist of a cylinder called the reserve tube that is filled with hydraulic fluid, another tube called the pressure cylinder within that cylinder, a piston that travels through the inner cylinder, and valving that meters the flow of fluid from one side of the piston to the other as bumps in the road are encountered. They are attached to the vehicle using bolts and rubber bushings.

Various things can go wrong with a shock absorber eventually so we are here to help you determine what the symptoms of bad or failing shocks/struts are so that you can make an educated decision as to whether or not you need to replace them.

1. Vibrations while driving

If the valving or piston seal inside the shock is wearing out then it may not sit properly, allowing fluid to flow uncontrolled past the valve or piston seal and thereby allowing every tiny bump in the road to cause an overreaction that you will actually feel with your hands on the steering wheel.

2. Swerving or nose diving while braking

If the valving or piston seal inside the shock is wearing out then the fluid flows uncontrolled and even the slightest steering wheel movement or the slightest brake application by the driver allows extreme movement of the piston within the cylinder. This means that if you take a right turn for instance then the weight of the vehicle will shift harder to the left during the turn and the driver will have to correct it, causing a swerve. When braking, the weight will shift farther forward than anticipated causing a nose dive.

3. Brakes take more time to stop the car

In addition to nose diving when applying the brakes, it takes extra time for the vehicle to take up all the piston rod length if uncontrolled and this adds time and extends the stopping distance required to come to a complete stop.

4. Uneven tire wear

A worn shock is unable to keep the tire firmly on the road surface. This causes a slight bounce as the vehicle moves over the road surface. The part of the tire that is in contact with the road will wear but the part of the tire that is not in contact with the road will not, causing uneven tire wear. As the tire rotates this contact area constantly changes with road speed, frequency of bounce, etc. The changing contact area will show up as excessively worn patches in the tire tread.

5. Leaking fluid

Sometimes the seals surrounding the shaft extending from the body of the shock will begin to leak and this leaking fluid will run down the side of the shock towards the ground. The loss of fluid will cause a loss in the ability of the shock to perform its function as there will be less and less fluid in the the chamber to work with.

6. Cracked bushing at attachment points

The shock has points at each end that allow it to be bolted to the vehicle. These attachment points have rubber bushings and if those rubber bushings crack or break out then a tapping will be heard as the vehicle is driving over bumps.

If you notice any of these symptoms then it is recommended that you contact YourMechanic.com to have the shocks and suspension professionally inspected. The YourMechanic professional technician will advise you as to the condition of your suspension including the shock absorbers and give you a quote for their replacement if necessary.

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Travis

7 years of experience
15 reviews
Travis
7 years of experience
Travis is outstanding. He is direct, up front and very honest. You can absolutely trust him; he won’t sell you any services you don’t need and will make sure you’re aware of what you might need done in the future.
2009 HONDA CR-V - SHOCK ABSORBER REPLACEMENT (FRONT) - WAKEFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS

John

33 years of experience
114 reviews
John
33 years of experience
He is a great mechanic who is proud of his job. He also provides detailed explanations during his work.
2007 HONDA PILOT - SHOCK ABSORBER REPLACEMENT (FRONT) - OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA

Rodrigo

10 years of experience
66 reviews
Rodrigo
10 years of experience
Rodrigo Castillo was prompt, fast, and did a quality job. I should have scheduled an oil change while he as here. I am very impressed with this service.
1995 JEEP WRANGLER - SHOCK ABSORBER REPLACEMENT (FRONT, REAR) - HENDERSON, NEVADA

Michael

13 years of experience
312 reviews
Michael
13 years of experience
Great and very professional. Offered recommendations and was not pushy at all. Will request him personally whenever we can.
2007 DODGE GRAND CARAVAN - SHOCK ABSORBER REPLACEMENT (REAR) - WOODSTOCK, GEORGIA

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