View Post

What kind of shocks or struts do I need?

In Shocks & Struts, Suspension by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

If you’re due to have your shocks and struts replaced, then it’s important to choose the right ones for your vehicle. Our certified technicians at HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire will recommend struts or shocks if your car is over 50,000 or shows some signs that they’re worn down – but how do you know which ones to choose?

Before you can move forward with deciding what kinds of shocks and struts you want, you first need to have a full understanding of what they are and how they work in your vehicle. Being informed about your car – including the parts in it – will ensure that you are confident in your purchase and that you’re caring for your vehicle.

You can find shocks and struts in your car, and while they do the same thing for your car, remember – you can not replace shocks for struts, and vice versa, as your car is designed to handle either one or the other. These components work to eliminate or at least minimize the amount of bouncing your car does, which will not only provider you with more control over the vehicle, but it will also avoid some potentially costly repairs.

Let’s go a little further and talk about what they look like, and where they are located in the car. A shock is attached to a coil spring and is located near the wheels. Struts are a little different, as they do not have the spring and they are actually mounted into the car’s suspension system.

Types of shocks and struts

Now that you know what shocks and struts are, and what they do, we can move on to looking at the types you’ll have to choose from.

The two most well-known shocks and strut designs are the mono tube and twin tubes.

When the monotube shocks and struts are placed in your vehicle, they use a gas charge that keeps the oil and nitrogen inside of them separate. What does this really mean? It means that your ability to ‘dampen’ or soften the force of breaking and running over bumps is enhanced and you have more driving control. Monotube are good with cars that need high quality performance or for drivers that like a slightly more aggressive ride. Mostly likely you’ll see these used with SUVs or light trucks.

Looking then at the twin tube shocks and struts, the most immediate difference is that they have two cylinders instead of one. Inside of these cylinders there are shafts and pistons that move, along with hydraulic fluid to again ‘dampen’ the force of breaking and driving over rough road. These shocks and struts don’t have same emphasis on performance as the mono tubes do, but they are an affordable option that provides good vehicle control for light trucks, SUVs and cars.

Ultimately, the shocks and struts you replace your current ones with need to coincide with driving conditions, your car and what you are looking for. Having a conversation with one of our technicians at HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire will help you make that important decision.

Factors to consider

Some things to ask yourself when selecting shocks and struts:

  • What do I use my car for?
  • Does my car regularly carry heavy loads?
  • Do I want shocks that are designed more for performance?
  • What are the driving conditions where I live?
  • What kind of car do I drive?
  • Will I need shocks that are adjustable?

You’re not expected to have full answers to these questions or know everything about shocks and struts – and that’s where we’re here to help. By making an appointment to get your car looked at, and talking to one of our guys in the shop, we can make sure you get the right shocks and struts in your vehicle so you can get back on the road.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

View Post

Why you should replace shocks and struts

In Shocks & Struts, Suspension by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

While everyone wishes that their car could stay in perfect condition forever, oftentimes that doesn’t really happen. Parts and fluids in everyone’s car wear over time – at different rates – and require replacement and maintenance. 

Some parts of vehicle maintenance, like oil changes, need to be done more often. There are some replacements that need to be done over a longer period of time – like shocks and struts.

If you are noticing that your car is bouncing a lot, or nose diving, and you take it in to an auto technician, they may come back and tell you that you need your shocks or struts replaced. 

Many people don’t know what they are, and what they do in your car, so let’s look at that first.

Shocks and struts both absorb pressure from running over potholes, bumps and rough roads. Shocks are placed near the tires and have a coiled spring near them, as well as hydraulic fluid and a piston that help to absorb that shock. Struts are very similar, except that they’re built into the suspension system, and they have a coiled spring directly on the strut as one part.

So why should you be replacing these when they begin to wear out or go bad? Below are a few reasons:

It’s what the industry standard and manufacturer recommends

Our auto technicians follow the industry and manufacturer’s standards on all cars that come in. It is currently recommended that shocks or struts be replaced every 50,000 miles. Even though this can vary from car to car – and some vehicles can go longer than that – we still recommend and look for any issues with these components once you’re over that mileage.

Replacing your shocks and struts will give you more control while you drive

When your shocks or struts start to go, you’re going to see it when you’re accelerating, turning and braking. So once they start to degrade, you’re really going to see a decline in the control you have of your vehicle. Everyone has a different preference on the level of vehicle control they want when driving, but when you begin to have issues with braking or turning on a curve, then it’s time for new shocks and struts.

The life of your tires increases

Like we mentioned before, the job of the shocks or struts help to absorb shock you have from running over things like potholes. So when your shocks and struts begin to go, you’re going to see more bouncing, even when you’re not running over things. This bouncing will actually harm your tires. Because of the increased bouncing, your tires are hitting the ground hard and unevenly. This means that you’re going to possibly see pieces of tire worn off and even smooth patches from where the tires have worn down. This can actually minimize the life of your tires, which is an additional cost down the road if you don’t replace your shocks or struts.

Driving on the road is safer when you change the shocks and struts

When your shocks or struts are wearing down and you’re having problems with braking and bouncing, it becomes less safe for you to drive. By getting them replaced, you’re investing in the safety of your life, your passenger’s lives and everyone else out there on the road.

If your technician at HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire suggests that you get your shocks or struts replaced, take them seriously. It will help improve your driving experience, extend the life of your car, and keep you safe.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

5 signs it’s time to replace your shocks and struts

In Auto Repair Promotions, Shocks & Struts, Suspension by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Yes, the winter has finally subsided with it’s cold, ice, and snow piles. But while the cold weather has gone away, the damage the winter inflicted on your cat hasn’t. With the large potholes and other damage your car has endured, it may be time to replace your shocks and struts.

5 signs it’s time to replace your shocks and struts

Keeping your vehicle maintained will keep repair costs down over the long run.

These are 5 signs that it’s time to get your shocks and struts inspected, repaired, or replaced.

1. Your car is going in for a nose dive.

When you’re turning, speeding up, or braking, are you having more difficulty controlling your vehicle? When you’re stopping, do you notice that the ‘nose’ of your car is diving forward, even when you’re only lightly braking? That is a common sign that the shocks and struts on your vehicle are worn and need to be replaced.

2. Overall, the handling is off.

If you drive your car frequently, you know it well – how it drives, how it performs under different conditions. And if all of a sudden you’re noticing that the handling of your vehicle – maybe a bumpier or rougher ride – then chances are that your shocks and struts are in need of repair or replacement.

5 signs it’s time to replace your shocks and struts

Suspension Strut Assembly on a car, these can start to show signs of wear around 50,000 milesYou’re hearing squeaking sounds coming from your vehicle.

3. You’re hearing squeaking sounds coming from your vehicle.

When your car squeaks, that’s a pretty good indication that there’s some kind of issue. Whether you’re just driving down the road, braking, or you’re running over a pothole or rough patch, if you’re hearing squeaking from your suspension then it’s time to bring your car in to have your shocks and struts inspected for wear.

4. There’s uneven wear on your tires.

This sign is the easiest to visually see. When your shocks and struts are worn down, there’s more bouncing and that bouncing means that your tire is also moving around as it hits the ground, losing rubber in the process. This is called cupping. If you see uneven wear or smooth patches on your tires, then it’s important for you to come in and have the shocks and struts looked at.

5. Your vehicle has more than 50,000 miles.

5 signs it’s time to replace your shocks and struts

A tire wear pattern like this can be due to worn shocks and struts.

While every car is different, and road conditions impact the life of car parts, if your car is over 50,000 miles and you’re having some issues, then it could be because of your shocks and struts. We follow the guidance from the Motorist Assurance Program that recommends that drivers replace their shocks and struts after 50,000 miles.

If it is time to replace your shocks and struts, the time to do it is now. Our shop is offering an inspection, repair, and replacement on shocks and struts now for only $20 over cost until April 30, 2016.

5 signs it’s time to replace your shocks and struts