CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Shocks and Money

I was told I needed to replace my shocks, but I don’t have much money and I don’t go off road, in fact I don’t drive above 40mph. Do I really need to replace my shocks? Don’t they just make the ride nicer?

Shocks do provide a nicer ride. They also help stabilize your car when cornering, they help you maintain control if you go over a rough road or dirt roat, they reduce or eliminate the bounce. They do provide a measure of safety because they help you control the steering and keep the car more stable through all types of driving. So if they are in fact bad, I’d get them changed at the earliest possible time.

While everything Benny says is indisputably true, I’d have to ask your driving environment. If it’s all local and rural, like the towns I remember in North Dakota, Minnesota, and parts of Illinois, you’re probably fine.

If you live in a populated area you should get them done. In an evasive maneuver it could be dangerous.

But I’m going out on a limb saying that. Without actually seeing how bad the shocks are, it’s a guess.

Shocks are basic suspension items. Replacing them is normal maintenance. They are also an integral part in the suspension system of your car and affect the performance of the car in ordinary driving. If they are indeed worn then you should replace them. It?s a safety issue.

You can postpone replacing shocks for a while, but as son as you have some money, I would recommend you replace them. Who told you you needed new shocks, and what was the reason they DEMONSTRATED to you? The life of shocks varies and is influenced by the terrain you drive on. The shocks on our 15 year old Nissan have never been replaced; I’m sure the car will ride a little better if we change them out, but untill they start leaking or some other catastrophic break occurs, we plan to leave them alone.

All of the above is so, but my biggest question would be who told you that they need to be replaced and on what basis? I would be thinking about a second opinion.

Yea, are they leaking or do they seem worn out? Shocks last a long time in modern vehicles. Performance may slowly decline or they may start to leak. If the latter, you need to replace them. If they don’t damp as well as they used to, it is a judgement call. It is similar to tire replacement. You will be safer in the rain if you replace tires before they get down to the wear bars.

I will add one more item to the list. With poor shocks, you will get short life from the tyres, which will in the long run cost you more than replacing the shocks. So even if you don’t care about the safety issue, consider the money. It is cheaper to replace them, if they do need replacement.