Your car suspension features shock absorbers to make your ride more comfortable. From the moment you press your foot on the accelerator pedal until the time that you take it off and park your car, your air shocks are working to cushion you from the harsh realities of the road. They work by absorbing kinetic energy so that it isn’t delivered to you, or to your passengers, and they work constantly to do that.

So, how long can you reasonably expect your air shocks to last? That depends on a variety of factors. Much depends on the type of roads on which you drive. If you’re into off-roading, or if the roads where you live are riddled with potholes, then obviously your air shocks aren’t going to last as long as they would if you drove on nice, even pavement all the time. And of course, the more you drive, the more abuse your air shocks are going to take. Keep in mind, too, that in addition to rough roads, contaminants and weather conditions will also take their toll on your air shocks. Sand, rough gravel, and road salt can shorten their life. As a rule of thumb, though, you should probably expect to replace your shocks every 50,000 miles.

Signs that your shocks may need to be replaced include:

  • Poor ride quality (bouncing, slamming, or a feeling of “rolling”)
  • Vehicle seems to point toward the ground when braking
  • Vehicle feels as though it is leaning when you accelerate

These are all indications that your car needs some suspension work, most likely in the form of replacing your air shocks. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should consult a qualified mechanic at your earliest convenience to get the failing air shocks replaced.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Do Air Shocks Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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