When you think about your truck's shock absorbers, you probably think of them as being the component that ensures a smooth ride. In actuality, the job of the shock absorbers is much more than that. The shock absorbers help you stay in control of your truck at all times, keeping the tyres flat and even helping you brake effectively. When your shock absorbers need to be replaced, you'll start to notice some obvious signs—and these signs might just shock you.
Truck Wheel Alignment Problems
Truck wheel alignment problems can be an indicator of shock absorber failure. If your shock absorbers are growing worn—and especially if this wear is uneven—you might notice some serious alignment problems whilst driving. If your truck is veering to one side or another and you have to muscle it back under control continually, the worn shock absorbers may be preventing even alignment. Even one bad shock absorber can cause very serious alignment problems for your truck.
Unusual Tyre Wear Patterns
Your tyres should generally wear evenly, but if you have worn or leaking shock absorbers, that is unlikely. The tyres can't stay on the road properly when the shocks are bad, and the wear patterns will reflect that struggle. If you drive on worn tyres, it puts you at risk for blowout whilst on the road—and it could cause a serious accident.
A Rough Ride
You already know that the shock absorbers should help keep the ride smooth, and you may experience exactly the opposite of that when the shocks fail. In fact, it can feel virtually like being swept up in a tornado with non-stop bumping around. When the shocks are failing, they can't help with suspension any longer, so there's nothing left to cushion the ride. This eventually causes costly suspension problems in addition to the painful ride.
Steering Wheel Vibration
Whilst it's normal to see a bit of steering wheel vibration when you traverse rough surfaces in your truck, if the shock absorbers fail, you'll notice that steering wheel vibration to a much higher degree—and much more frequently. You may notice that the steering wheel starts vibrating whenever you apply the brakes if the shock absorbers have failed or are failing. The problem may be even worse at higher speeds on the motorway. When all of the shock absorbers fail, it may be hard to maintain control of your truck at high speed—and it can be very unsafe to drive.
If you've noticed any of these signs of shock absorber problems in your truck, see your automotive care provider today to get a full evaluation!