Beat the bounce: suspension maintenance

BouncingI can’t tell you how many times car owners have given me that old line:

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

And it kills me, because today I want to talk about auto suspension maintenance–and if there’s anything you don’t want to roll the dice with, it’s your suspension.

Think about it: just what is a suspension in a car? In simplest terms, it’s what holds your car together. It keeps the wheels pointed in the right direction, and it enables you to maintain control when you hit bumps or go around corners. In other words, the car suspension is a pretty big deal.

Nonetheless, I get people telling me all the time that they don’t have to replace shocks or car springs. “The car still runs and drives, right?” they’ll say. “You know what, I’ll just wait until they get real bad.”

Well, I’m here to tell you, that’s not the right attitude to have about your auto suspension. Fact is, the more proactive you are with your suspension springs and such, the better off you’ll be.

For example, a lot of people wonder when to replace shocks. The answer is, “Whenever your mechanic says so!” You need to have your suspension checked regularly by a trained professional, because if you don’t replace shocks till they’re obviously spent, it’s already too late. Without shocks, you have much less control over the car, so your risk of getting into an accident is much higher.

And if you’re wondering about struts, they’re even more important, because they’re part of what holds the whole suspension together. I mean, you’re really playing with fire if you don’t replace struts when they need it. Technically, you could drive a car without shocks, although it would be highly dangerous. But you can’t drive a car without struts, and you don’t want to find out what it’s like to lose a strut on the road.

My point today is simple: if your car suspension “ain’t broke,” don’t rest on your laurels! Have regular suspension inspections performed by a trustworthy mechanic, and replace those shocks and struts whenever you’re told they’re on their way out. It won’t always be cheap, but your safety and the safety of those around you is well worth the hit to your wallet.

Editor’s note: Advance Auto Parts carries a wide selection of Monroe Shocks and Struts, one of the industry’s leading brands. Buy online, pick up in-store for ultra-fast availability.

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