Floaty and bouncy ride after service work

I recently had my 98 Acura RL in for some service work (replace power steering boots, wheel alignment, new brakes, differential fluid change, tire rotation, and a few other minor things). When I got it back, I noticed the ride was more bouncy and floaty than before. It always had a smooth ride that absorbed the road well, but now I tend to feel every bump and road change, although it is more of a floaty response than a harsh one. Any thoughts on what might have caused this? Is it normal for the work I had done?

A floaty ride usually means shocks/struts. How old are they?? What the mechanic did shouldn’t have effected the struts.

I agree with Mike. What you describe are the symptoms of worn-out struts or shock absorbers, but the work that you had done should not have had any impact (no pun intended) on these parts. That being said, if these are the original struts, they are probably due for replacement anyway.

I have owned the car for 3 years, and have not replaced the shocks or struts in that time. I am not sure about what the previous owner did, although I have all of his service records so I could check. The only thing that seems strange is that this difference was immediately noticeable upon picking the car up from the dealer after the repair work. Although the work done should not have affected that, it seems strangely coincidental. Is it possible that they could have messed something up while in there?

The only possibility that I can think of is a change in tire inflation pressure.
It is very possible that the mechanic checked and altered your tire pressure, and that this led to a change in ride characteristics.

How often do you normally check your tire pressure?

I don’t check the tire pressure as often as I probably should, but I do check the tires every couple of months and and fill them up as needed. The shocks or struts certainly make the most sense, but it is just so odd that it only became noticeable upon picking up my car from the dealer.

“Every couple of months” is not often enough! You should really get into the habit of checking (and if necessary, correcting) your tire pressure every couple of weeks.

This convinces me more than ever that the mechanic corrected the tire pressure. You had probably become used to the ride characteristics of the incorrect tire pressure, simply because it had been “off” for such a long time, and as a result, the current ride characteristics seem alien to you.

I could accept that, except I just corrected the tire pressure a few weeks ago (and had them at their proper inflation then) and didn’t notice anything unusual with the driving characteristics. I suppose it is possible that my gauge is off and I have been consistently inflating them improperly based upon that. If so, I like my old ride and maybe I should let some air out! :slight_smile:

I really don’t know what they could have messed with to cause this problem.

My father-in-law owned a Ford wagon. He used it sometimes to tow his boat trailer. He had air-shocks installed which helped level the load when towing the boat. All service work was done at the dealer. So early in June one year he went to add air to his shocks and found that his Air-Shocks were replaced with standard Ford shocks. He went to the dealer (who was a good friend of his) and asked how that happened. Turned out one of the mechanics working on his vehicle STOLE the shocks for his car and just swapped them with his…He was fired on the spot. If it wasn’t for the fact my father-in-law was a good friend of the owner there’s a good chance they never would have found out what happened.

When they performed these services, the vehicle was lifted on a hoist. This allowed the wheels to sag thereby hyper-extending the shocks/struts. If the shocks/struts internal valving was marginally worn, this hyper-extension can cause the internal valving to fail. Not the shops fault. Just something that can happen to worn shocks/struts when the vehicle is put on a lift.


As usual, Tester has come up with something that we all failed to think about, and I think that he nailed it!

Thanks, Tester! That seems to be the best explanation for why it would show up all of the sudden after getting my car back. Even though it is understandable, it is still frustrating to take it in for routine stuff and to get it back driving worse than before. I guess my only option is to replace the struts, right?

Besides guesses given here. Did you drive a loaner or newer car while yours was worked on. It may be you realize your ride is quite worn down in the suspension area. No surprise on a 11 year old car.

That’s not an unreasonable thought, except my wife did not drive the loaner car at all, and she noticed the bouncy suspension on my car without me telling her about it. So, it clearly happened during the repairs, and Tester’s explanation makes the most sense as to the cause of it.