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Easy Diagnosing Tips of a Bad Shock Absorber

Owning a car is sometimes a stressful undertaking; we usually don’t realize how much money and effort is involved in owning one until we are faced with our first big repair or maintenance service bill. Luckily, there are many auto mechanics who have excellent reputations for producing honest, trustworthy work while keeping funds at a minimum for their customers. While these are few and far between, likely there is one close by you that will provide excellent service. When your car starts to act up, or you notice a change in its driving, the first thing you should do is pay close attention to how your car is performing; if you notice any questionable noises or odd reactions, you should bring your car into a trusted automotive center which can help diagnose the problem. The most important thing is to stay on top of any odd behavior your car undergoes, because the sooner you catch an issue, then the less you will end up paying for repairs. If you wait too long, sometimes a chain reaction occurs where multiple parts need to be replaced or repaired due to prolonged service.

New Shock Absorber

Vibration in the steering wheel

One of the most commonly diagnosed issues with car repairs is a bad shock absorber. Shock absorbers are exactly what the name states they are: they absorb the movement of the vehicle to make the ride as smooth as possible, while protecting other vital parts of the car from violently jerking and bouncing around at all times. Shock absorbers themselves are relatively affordable parts; however, the price of the part will depend on the type of vehicle you own. There are symptoms and warning signs that one should keep an eye out for; it is important to detect an issue with shock absorbers earlier to prevent further damage to other parts of the vehicle, making the mechanic trip even more costly. Generally one of the first warning signs will be vibration in the steering wheel—more so than usual. Vibrating in the steering wheel means that your shock absorbers are no longer taking on the vibrations and bumps in the road throughout your drive. Depending on the severity of the symptom, a vibrating steering wheel can be difficult to control at higher speeds.

Rattling noise & abnormal bouncy ride

Another symptom of deteriorated shock absorbers is a rattling noise or an abnormally bouncy ride. This symptom may be particularly noticeable when you are going over potholes, speed bumps, or hilly roads. This is one of the more severe signs of shock absorber erosion. If your car is abnormally rocky or bumpy feeling, it is critical to take it into a trusted mechanic for an immediate inspection—this could be putting unnecessary pressure or friction on other car parts which can easily become damaged by the shock absorbers failing to adequately do their job. Upon further investigation, you may also notice uneven tire wear. Your tire wear says a lot about how your car is driving, and can be a diagnostic feature for mechanics to figure out what area of your car is experiencing an issue and is in need of repair. When your tires wear unevenly, it can be a hazard in and of itself.

Bad Shock Absorber

Increase in braking distance

Another feature, and perhaps the most dangerous, of bad shock absorbers, is an increase in braking distance. When you notice your braking distance has suddenly increased, it may not always be an issue related to the brakes. As you know from driver’s education courses, the faster your car is going, the more braking distance you need between you and the car in front of you. When your shock absorbers begin to fail and you have not yet correctly accounted for this malfunction, it can cause a serious accident. Rear-ending the person in front of you is an automatic at-fault accident that will likely affect your car insurance rates. Staying on top of preventive maintenance is important for several reasons: safety, efficiency, and cost; your car will be safer the more often mechanics inspect it, it will be more efficient in its use of fuel, and it will end up costing you less in the long run with insurance claims or other damaged parts in need of repair. Do yourself a favor and bring your car in for a shock absorber inspection; it will be a good opportunity to have other preventive maintenance performed.

Most Common Car Maintenance Myths That You Must Know

If you are not a car enthusiast, and simply an everyday, average driver/commuter, it is likely that you may be unaware of faulty, yet common, maintenance tips that are routinely enforced by your regular mechanic or the 10-minute oil change shop around the corner. At no fault of your own, these shops and the general auto industry serves to keep themselves in business, and follow the recommendations of the companies that endorse their product. While it is important to follow the direction of automotive experts who seemingly know “more than you do,” it is also important to be an informed consumer who can weed through mechanic jargon and media-authorized recommendations that will ultimately get you nowhere but the bottom of your wallet and checkbook. Blindly following the suggestion of others is simply not wise—it is likely that these suggestions are blindly recommended, or they aim to earn your money. Here are some of the most common car maintenance myths that you must know before you take anyone else’s word for it.

Car Oil Change

Oil change interval

You may have heard that oil changes are essential to the overall function of your vehicle; this statement in itself is highly accurate—the oil in your car is critical to the engine and the other moving parts of the vehicle. Having clean oil is imperative: not only does it keep the engine running properly, it can also drastically extend the life of your vehicle. What is a myth, however, is that the oil must be changed every 3,000 miles, or every 3 months. This is simply a recommended “average” for drivers who typically drive in dirt terrain or in congested traffic frequently. Spending money unnecessarily on oil changes that are too frequent can put a dent in your wallet over the course of a year. For oil-change shops in particular, they make money off of the amount of product they use, which includes filters and fluids; therefore, the more often you come back to have your oil, oil filter, or air filter changed, the more product they sell. You can check your oil yourself easily if you want to make sure it’s clean; simply open the hood and pull out the oil dipstick—the fluid should be relatively clear at the bottom and full to the line.

Warm up before drive

Another automotive myth that you may have heard roaming the rumor-mill is that you must let your car warm up before you drive anywhere. This is an inaccurate, generalized statement that is ultimately meant for cars that must endure harshly cold weather. A general rule of thumb is that if you must scrape ice off of your windshield, then you should let your car warm up for about a minute. In today’s technologically advanced cars, it is not necessary to allow the car to warm up; it does this on its own while driving. Allowing your car’s engine to run in your driveway for 10 minutes is not advice that is applicable to modern cars, and it is frankly a waste of gas and pollution. Now you can wake up in the morning knowing that you don’t need to waste any time or money on allowing your car to warm up before you rush to work.

Car Engine Check by Auto Mechanic

Tire pressure

Checking your tire pressure and filling it to its recommended pressure is important for several reasons: it keeps you looking at the tread and wear on your tire to check for any unevenness, and properly-filled tires will help your vehicle feel and perform its best. When filling your tire with air, the common myth is that you must fill the tire to the psi number that is located on the tire. This is not the recommended tire pressure, it is the maximum capacity of air for the tire—if you fill it past this, it may cause the tire to bubble, or even explode while driving. When you fill your tire, it is best to keep the tire pressure at the recommended pressure; you can find this information on a sticker in one a several possible areas of your car: in the glove-box, on the gas tank door, or on the inside of the driver’s door frame. Following these common car myths can be expensive, time-consuming, or can even cause damage in some cases. Do yourself a favor and take your car to an automotive expert, not a shady mechanic.