What are struts?

Posted October 31, 2013

So you’ve been told the struts on your car are bad and need to be replaced.  But what exactly is a strut and what does it do in your car anyways?  It’s hard to know the importance of replacing a part you don’t know anything about.

What are struts?


strutsStruts are components of your car’s suspension system and control the height of your car.  Or, more specifically, the coil spring mounted on the strut is what maintains the height of the car and keeps it off the ground.  The suspension system in a car is what makes riding in an automobile different from riding in a wagon.  In wagon, which is just bed and wheels, you feel every bump and pothole.  In a car, you are not supposed to move up and down with every bump and pothole; the suspension system works to give you a smoother riding experience.  If you are bouncing up and down on pitted roads, can feel your car swaying on the highway on a  windy day, or notice that the car bottoms out when you back up out of the driveway or you nose dive when you brake, those are sure signs that your struts are going or are already shot.  And if your struts are bad, your tires will take the brunt of the road, bouncing excessively and wearing unevenly.  Not addressing your strut problems will inevitably lead to shredded tires or even accidents as the tires will not be able to grip the road as well.  This is particularly dangerous in inclement weather.

Other signs your struts are worn out

Fluid leaking from a strut is a sign that a strut is going.  You can also test each strut by depressing each corner of your car down and then releasing it again.  If it continues to bounce up and down after you release it, instead of raising itself up to the car’s normal level and stopping, you’ve got a bad strut.  Struts are replaced in pairs, front and back, so if one goes bad, you have to replace them both.  Replacing a strut can be dangerous, though, because of the coil.  Mechanics with experience will know how to remove the coil without causing damage.  Do not try to un-bolt the strut yourself if you do not know what you are doing.

Veenstra’s Garage would be glad to help you diagnose your struts for problems and give you options for replacement if necessary.  Call us today at 616-454-6597.


Categories: Car Care|Services

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