How to Drive With Bad Shocks

Written by peter mckeown
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How to Drive With Bad Shocks
Shock Absorbers Are Important to a Car's Performance. (Shock absorber image by Neryman from

Shock absorbers are in the car for one major reason: to keep your car from moving up and down on uneven surfaces. Bad shocks will be noticeable and you can tell they are faulty if your car has extended vertical motion after a bump or dip in the road. If you have bad shocks, the first thing you want to do is fix them. Safety-wise, that is always the smart thing to do. However, if you are in a situation where you don't have the means to replace them and they aren't totally gone, then you can survive driving for awhile.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Identify precisely which shocks are faulty so you can be aware of them during turns and in case of any road irregularities.

  2. 2

    Drive at or below the speed limit no matter what road you are on, because the faster you go, the more likely you are to be affected by a change in the road.

    How to Drive With Bad Shocks
    Drive the Speed Limit with Bad Shocks (speed limit 25 image by Stephen VanHorn from
  3. 3

    Avoid any potholes or dips in the road, both to keep control of the car and to ensure safety of the undercarriage.

    How to Drive With Bad Shocks
    Avoid Potholes Whenever Possible (pothole repair image by Greg Pickens from
  4. 4

    Take turns that are sharp at a much slower pace and, if possible, avoid any winding road.

    How to Drive With Bad Shocks
    Slow Down for Turns (Road to unknown image by mich from
  5. 5

    Give yourself more time and room to brake, as cars with bad shocks generally take more distance to stop.

    How to Drive With Bad Shocks
    Braking Takes Longer with Bad Shocks (semáforo image by nuryudijes from

Tips and warnings

  • One way to test your shocks and identify if they are bad is to put pressure on either bumper and let go. If the car bounces a few times rather than setting back into place upon the release of the pressure, then there is something wrong with them. Another way to tell the state of your shocks is during braking and acceleration. If the shocks are not good, your car will dip forward more than normal when braking and drop lower towards the rear when speeding up.
  • Also, always bring your car in for a check-up after about 25,000 miles with or without problems. It is always better to find out car issues before they lead to an accident.
  • Driving with bad shocks is not a safe thing to do, so avoid it whenever possible. Not only can you lose control of the car and be involved in an accident on your own or with another car, you also risk damaging many other parts of the car. The sheer act of bouncing up and down puts a lot of stress on the tires and can lead to uneven tread wear. This jostling can also cause serious damage to different parts of the undercarriage, particularly the rest of the suspension system.

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