Did you know that if the shock is worn, the springs will have to work harder and could wear out sooner causing ride height and ride problems? Shocks are filled mostly with oil. This oil can have different weights. When the oil heats up, it can affect the rate of flow through the valving as it either thins out or becomes gooier. Some shock manufacturers also use multi-weight oils that work like motor oils. When the oil is cold, it may flow like 15-weight oil. But, as the oil heats up, it could flow like a 20-weight.
The oil can become contaminated with debris either from the outside or from internal components. Dirt can enter the shock through the gasket that seals around the rod. This is why it is critical to replace all dust boots when installing new shocks.
How struts wear? Struts also perform a second job. Unlike shock absorbers, struts provide structural support for the vehicle’s suspension. As a result, struts affect riding comfort and handling, as well as vehicle control, braking, steering, wheel alignment and wear on other suspension components, including the tires. Because struts are a part of the suspension, in some situations they wear differently than shocks. If the upper strut mount is binding, the force is transferred through the rod to the strut’s body. Inside the strut’s body, the rod is supported by the piston and at the top of the strut housing by a bushing or bearing. Wear can be dramatic because the strut has to do the work of the bearing. Instead of the strut bearing turning and pivoting, the piston turns in the strut housing, thereby creating wear.
Here are 3 warning signs to know when your shocks and struts are worn out