Symptoms of bad struts in cars

Written by jeff bressler
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Symptoms of bad struts in cars

A car's "struts" is a term often heard but little understood. This may be due to the fact that a strut is not an individual automotive part, but rather an assembly of different suspension components. If struts fail, numerous handling problems become evident.

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Struts are made up of the coil spring, shock absorber, strut bearings and the steering knuckle. The strut assembly plays a major role in the handling and driving comfort of a car.


Strut assemblies wear out gradually. Longevity depends on a number of factors. Local driving on smooth road surfaces will prolong the life of shocks and struts, while travelling consistently on winding, gravel or dirt roads will initiate quicker replacement.


Strut symptoms are normally not subtle and easy to identify. It is time to bring your car in for suspension service if any of these symptoms are evident: the vehicle bottoms out, drifts to the left or right when braking, sways, bounces or you notice excessive tire wear.


Failure of the assembly usually results from a leaking shock or strut, loose mounting, worn coil spring or damaged piston rod.


Inspection of a vehicle's strut assembly should take place at least annually. If you are having a wheel alignment, the struts will also be checked by the technician.

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