Most of the time, you've got a few things to hold onto when it comes to routine car maintenance.

·         Mileage specific maintenance (every 5000, every 30,000, etc).

·         Visible need (worn tires, squealing brakes)

·         Indicator lights (fluids, pressure, etc)

But some things may not be as obvious. There's no light or mileage or outward sign to look for when you need to replace shocks and struts. And sometimes the wear is so gradual that you get used to the way the car is driving and don't notice until you're driving something else, or it's pointed out to you.

1.       Bouncing.

This was the first sign I noticed.  After we'd go over a bump, the car wouldn't settle right away, but would bounce for a bit. When my brother in law followed us home from a holiday meal, he commented that he saw our car bouncing along down the highway - and I hadn't even noticed. This is a clear sign. Good shocks absorb the bouncing.

2.       Nose dives and dipping.

Shocks and struts keep the car steady. If the front end of your car dives when you brake or the rear end squats when you accelerate, you're not working with good shocks and struts anymore.

3.       Tire "cupping"

This goes along with the bouncing. If the shocks are bad, your car will literally bounce along as you drive. And when this happens, your tires wear. So instead of consistent wear, you might have tread, then a smooth patch, then more tread, and so on.

Can you drive a car with bad shocks and struts? You can, but like most things, it's not a great idea. All that jostling isn't great for the car, it can cause stress on the axles, tires, transmission and brakes. Knowing the signs that indicate replacement can save a lot on bigger repairs down the line.

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