If you do drive over a pothole, the Car Care Council recommends that you have your vehicle’s shocks or struts checked to make sure they aren’t damaged.
Shocks and struts control a vehicle’s ride and handling. According to the Car Care Council, the shock absorbers, or struts as they are referred to on late-model vehicles, act as a cushion to dampen the bouncing action of a car’s springs. The springs absorb the road bumps; without them, the vehicle would continually bounce and bound down the road, making driving extremely difficult.
Shocks and struts also control spring and suspension movement to keep the tires in contact with the road. This affects steering, stability and braking. A broken shock or strut could alter the steering and handling of a vehicle and create driving dangers.
It’s important to be aware of the warning signs that your vehicle’s shocks or struts may need to be replaced.
- The vehicle rolls or sways on turns.
- The vehicle’s front-end dives when braking.
- The vehicle’s rear end squats when accelerating.
- The vehicle bounces or slides sideways on a winding, rough road.
- The vehicle “bottoms out” or thumps on bumps.
- The vehicle sits lower in the front or rear.
- The vehicle is leaking or has signs of physical damage, such as rusting or dents.
- There’s a loss of directional control during sudden stops of the vehicle.
Many components affect a vehicle’s handling. Having your car inspected, if you experience any of the above signs, is good preventive maintenance and can help its parts wear less and last longer.
“If you think you may have a worn out or broken shock or strut, don’t wait,” said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. “Whether you replace it yourself or take your car to a professional service technician, this situation should be taken care of right away.”
Hitting a pothole can also affect your van’s alignment or tracking, this can make your van’s steering feel loose or vague, especially at higher speeds which can be dangerous. Having your alignment incorrectly set can also cause uneven tire wear and can drastically shorten the life of your tires.
If you think your van’s steering may be out of alignment then you can get it adjusted at most places that also sell tires.