I have a 1995 Buick regal. It was handed down to me from my brother in law, whose grandmother owned it before him. Although the car is older than my students, she only has 126,000 miles on her (mostly highway) and I’m assured by my mechanic that her engine is in excellent shape.
However, because of long exposure to upstate NY weather, a lot of the undercarriage has rusted, and my mechanic warns me it’s not worth doing any major work. I’ve paid for regular maintenance here and there (brake lines, spark plugs, etc) but she’s never given me any big problems.
I’m a grad student and just need the car to last one more year, but lately the suspension seems pretty worn out - more than usual. She bounces a lot on older stretches of highway.
I only drive the car on the highway once a month or so (to visit my sister two hours away), and a few times in the city for errands.
Do I need to get the suspension checked out? I have a mechanic I trust, but because of the rust situation, any kind of work tends to be difficult and more expensive than it otherwise would be, so… I’m worried about what they’ll say. Am I being stupid to not check this out sooner, or can I wait and see what they say at my inspection in a few months?
+1 to the previous replies.
A worn out suspension is not just a comfort issue, and is actually a safety hazard.
When your tires are bouncing on the pavement (you can’t see this from the driver’s seat, but on a rough road it IS happening) you have significantly reduced traction, and that can make a major difference in both stopping ability and the way that the car takes curves.
It is entirely possible you will be told that the amount of rust precludes something as simple as shock/strut replacement, but unless you have the situation evaluated by a competent mechanic, you will simply be guessing and you will be a hazard on the road to yourself and to other folks.
The bouncing is likely worn out front struts. I also agree about checking out the suspension but if there is nothing major with ball joints (the most serious parts failure) you might consider just replacing the front struts since another year is all that is being asked of the car.