A Hyundai Santa Fe has shock absorbers in the rear and Macpherson struts, composed of coil springs plus dampening shocks, in the front. Shock absorbers and struts are types of suspension designed to lessen the impact of bumps to provide a smoother ride. Read on to determine whether the shocks or struts on your Hyundai Santa Fe need to be replaced.
Pay attention to how your SUV behaves when you use the brakes, turn a corner or accelerate. Note any vibrations, as well as how the vehicle performs when you drive on a wet surface or encounter strong wind from the side. If performance is poor in these conditions, suspension may be an issue.
Use a dynamometric test machine to determine whether the suspension is symmetrical and to find the suspension's minimum dynamic supporting force. These test machines vary, so be sure to consult the instructions that come with the machine you use.
Look at the shocks or struts to see if you can find any defects. Check the mountings of the shocks to see if they are broken or weak, and look for corrosion. Find the shock absorber itself and determine whether the body is deformed in any way.
Check the top mount assembly bearing for struts. Have someone move the steering wheel while you observe whether it binds or the movement is rough.
Note whether you can see any oil leaking. Also look at the mounting bushes to see if they are cracked or deformed. Check the piston rods in the shocks; if the piston rods are corroded, it's time to replace the shocks since corrosion will damage the seals and cause oil leaks.
Bounce the car in the front end and check for binding. Binding could mean there is a bend strut shaft, and the struts need attention.
Listen for noise when you use the breaks or accelerate, and rattling or bumping noises when you drive. Determine if the source of the noise in the front or the back. If you're not sure, have someone ride in the back seat while you drive and compare notes.
Examine the tires for little concave dents that may start to develop, or other irregular wear on the tires. This is an indication that new shocks are likely needed on your Hyundai Santa Fe.