When your shocks or struts wear out, you’ll notice a difference in ride quality. You’ll feel the bounce as you drive down the street, and you may lose some control of the steering. Without shocks and struts, your wheels would bounce freely as they make contact with the road, springing the body of your car up and down like a bouncy house on wheels. While this sounds fun, it is dangerous. It’s important to replace worn shocks and struts before the driving worsens and becomes unsafe.
So where do you start? There are so many different options to choose from it can get confusing out there. This is a guide to help you make sense of the different kinds available so that finding the right one for your vehicle can be easier and a little stress free. But first, in case you didn’t know, it’s important to understand the difference between a shock and a strut.
It sure did. A German tax on imported chicken from the 1960s is still affecting where and how trucks are built and what trucks are available in the US – even though the original German tax has expired! International trade is complex and the results can be strange. Cheap chicken in the ‘60s is the reason you can’t get a Ford Ranger in the US today.
Why was there a Tax on Chicken in the ’60s?
Following World War II, US chicken farms became extremely productive, bringing down the price of chicken not only in the US, but in Europe. Cheap imported chicken led West Germans to eat 23% more chicken than before. That was great news for German chicken eaters and American chicken farmers, but bad news for German chicken farmers, who couldn’t produce chicken cheap enough to compete. In 1961, to keep German chicken farmers from going out of business, Germany imposed a tax on imported chicken. France, in a similar situation, followed suit.
The tariff became a point of contention between the US and Germany. German Prime Minister Konrad Adenauer later reported that most of his conversations with President Kennedy were about chicken.
Labor Day celebrates all working people across the country. Ideally, it’s a time to relax and enjoy the last few days of summer, but this long weekend also offers an opportunity to finish a repair and prepare for the colder days ahead.
Eventually the sun will set sooner until it’s almost dark before you get home from work. And if that’s the least of your worries, it’s still an ample opportunity to put some extra time aside and focus on your car.
So here’s some Labor Day Weekend repairs you can do before the seasons change.
Your shocks and struts can wear over time. The rate of wear will depend on the driving conditions where you live, but generally shocks last about 50,000 to 80,000 miles. Shocks are important to the overall safety of your vehicle. They help keep the tires in contact with the road, giving you the traction to accelerate, stop, and steer as necessary. They also keep your ride smooth and in control.
Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to check if your shocks need to be replaced. There are some telltale signs that your shocks may be wearing out, some visual signs to look for, and a simple test you can do yourself to decide if you need to replace your shocks.
Signs Your Shocks Are Going Bad
Your ride will start to feel rougher or more bouncy than before.
You may hear a rattling or creaking sound when you drive over bumps.
Brake dive, acceleration squat, and the body roll.
Loss of traction and increased stopping distances
Uneven tire wear including cupped indentations or bald spots