I was driving down Route 14 the other day and I was following a car that was bouncing up and down like a basketball.
It was almost scary to be behind it because the car looked like it was on the verge of being out of control. It was apparent to me that the shocks and struts were completely worn out.
In this case, this car was really a hazard on the road. Any kind of a panic maneuver and I think the driver would have been in trouble.
Because we keep our cars so long these days, most of us should replace our shocks and struts a time or two. While your automobile may not be bouncing to the degree of the car I was following, worn shocks and struts can have a subtle effect on the handling and stability of your vehicle.
The symptoms can range from excessive nosediving on stops to "bump" steering, excessive movement of the wheel when you hit a little bump in the road or drive around a curve. Worn shocks and struts also will wear out your tires prematurely and can greatly increase your stopping distance.
I have always said the one thing I could do to your car that you would surely notice would be to replace your tires, shocks and struts.
If your car has 50,000 to 60,000 miles on it, or more, you could potentially need new shocks and struts. I would recommend you have them checked by your service professional.
As with any preventive maintenance, investing in new shocks and struts now can lead to savings down the road. It also allows you to enjoy the improved ride and handling you will experience immediately.
• Douglas Automotive is at 312 S. Hager Ave., Barrington, (847) 381-0454, and 123 Virginia Road, Crystal Lake, (815) 356-0440. For information, visit douglasautomotive.com. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.