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Signs of a failing suspension system

One of the things vehicle owners often fail to keep in mind is their suspension system. Remember after years of supporting the weight of your vehicle your shocks will become worn and repair becomes necessary. Sometimes people think their suspension is for a smooth ride and repairing it isn't as important as things like oil changes or brake maintenance.

Bad suspension can have an effect on your ability to control your vehicle when trying to stop or turn. Here are some signs that it's time to repair your suspension:

  • Rough car ride
    This is an obvious sign of the need for suspension work. Your shocks and struts are nearly worn out when you start to feel each bump in the road or a bump causes the body of the vehicle to bounce. 
  • Your car is drifting or pulling during turns
    Often when you feel your vehicle pull or drift during turns it's the result of a suspension system in need of maintenance. The shocks aren't keeping the vehicle body stable against the turn's centrifugal force causing an increased risk of a rollover. Drivers who feel this sensation during a turn should take their vehicle in for service.
  • Dipping or nose diving when stopping
    If your shocks are work out you'll likely feel the body of the vehicle lurch both forward and downward nose first when braking firmly. This can have a effect on being able to stop the car quickly as a bad suspence can cause a 20 per cent increase in the time it takes to stop.
  • Tire tread is uneven
    If you look at your tires and notice either the tread is wearing down unevenly, or see bald spots, it can be a sign of the suspension not supporting the car evenly and placing uneven amounts of pressure on your tires.
  • Shocks that are damaged or oily
    Look directly at the shocks or struts when looking under your vehicle. If you notice they appear to be greasy or oily there is a change they could be leaking fluid and are not working properly. It's likely that you'll need to replace your shocks. 
  • Give the bounce test a try
    If you suspect your suspension is going bad (as per one of the symptoms above), there is a simple test to try. Place the car in park, use your weight to push down on the front of the vehicle to bounce it a few times and release. Repeat this on the rear end of the vehicle. If the car rocks or bounces more than two or three times after releasing it is a sign of the suspension becoming worn out.

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