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Is it time to replace your car’s struts?

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If you notice your ride isn’t as smooth as it used to be; even a small bump or dip in the road results in a “thud” as you pass over it, it might be time to have your shocks and struts replaced.

Douglas Automotive, with locations in Crystal Lake, Barrington, and Fox River Grove, notes seven handling characteristics that indicate a need for new ones:

1. Body roll. You notice excessive leaning when making a lane change. In severe cases it could cause a loss of control.

2. Traction loss. This condition shows up on a firm acceleration where the drive wheels come off the ground and cause a skipping sensation.

3. Harshness or buckboard ride. The car just doesn't ride well any more. It's either kind of bouncy or just plain harsh.

4. Nose dive. You will notice this on stopping. The nose of the car just dives to the pavement when braking, totally upsetting the balance of the vehicle, which is actually increasing your stopping distance by 20 feet or more, depending on how fast you are going and how worn out the suspension is.

5. Bottom out. The suspension can actually reach the limit of its travel and cause a harsh bottoming feeling.

6. Acceleration squat. Accelerating causes the back of the car to squat down again, upsetting the balance of the car and causing potential control issues.

7. Tire cupping. This is where you actually start to see a really bad choppy wear pattern on your tires. Generally once this starts it's hard to reverse and it causes the tires to wear out faster. They can also create quite a bit of road noise. You would definitely want to think about changing the shocks and struts on a high-mileage car before putting a nice, new expensive set of tires on.

Douglas Automotive : 123 E. Virginia, Crystal Lake, IL 815.356.0440 : 417 W. Main Street, Barrington, IL : 847. 381.0454 : 416 Northwest Highway, Fox River Grove, IL : 847.639.4552 : www.douglasautomotive.com

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