A Ford Taurus 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 and thus provide a smoother ride. Read on to determine whether the shocks or struts on your Ford Taurus need to be replaced.
Pay attention to how your Taurus 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 are using.
Look at the shocks or struts and see if you can find any observable defects or concerns. Check the mountings of the shocks to see if they are broken or weak. Look for any corrosion. Look over the body of the shock absorber itself to see if it is deformed in any way.
Check the top mount assembly bearing on the 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 for cracks or deformations. Check the piston rods in the shocks; if they're corroded, it's time to replace the shocks since corrosion will damage the seals and cause oil to leak.
Bounce the car in the front end and check for binding. It could mean there is a bend strut shaft, and the struts need attention.
Listen for noise when you use the breaks or accelerate and for 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 Ford Taurus.