So a customer comes in to All Tune and Lube Total Car Care in Tempe and complains that his car rides rough, he can feel every pebble in the road. He wants a price on new struts. This guy has been a regular here a the shop and we’ve recommended struts to him before just based on the mileage of his car but worn struts don’t usually get stiff or hard, they get loose. When we checked his car out we found that he was running 55 pounds of air pressure in his tires when the manufacturer of the car called for 28 pounds! I bet it road rough! Probably sketchy as heck on the road as well.
Shocks and struts wear out. But tire pressure makes a bigger difference as far as the way your car “feels” on the road. Check your tires regularly, at least once a month. This means inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations that are posted somewhere in the vehicle. Typically this will be on a door, door pillar or the glove box lid. The tire pressure printed on the tire sidewall is not the pressure you should be using, this number represents the absolute maximum inflation pressure the tire can safely hold. At this maximum pressure the tire is capable of supporting a specified maximum load. The tires that came with your car were built with significant reserve tire capacity and do not require the maximum tire pressure. The proper pressure is based on many factors such as weight, suspension design, height of the center of gravity, etc. etc. etc. The engineers who designed your vehicle should not be second guessed. Now that the tires are known to be properly inflated we can move on to shocks and struts. Struts are merely a variation of shock absorber that doubles as an actual structural member of the suspension. When shocks or struts are worn the most common symptom is not so much harshness on every little impact, but the feeling of piloting a waterbed or boat. The car rocks and sways and does not come to rest immediately after a sudden stop or dip in the road. It will bottom out easily. There are other problems with struts–shocks less so–so after making certain the tires are correct we move on to check the suspension.
From your Local Mechanic, All Tune and Lube Tempe. Complete Auto Repair and Maintenance.