Shock and Strut Boot
Although the road seems all smooth and perfect, there are bumps and potholes that can make the vehicle bounce or move up and down. Good thing, shocks and struts are there to dampen the impact. By keeping the tires planted on the ground, these suspension parts provide some stability. They're part of the many reasons why your vehicle handles pretty well and the ride goes smoothly. When shocks and struts fail or start to wear out, you'll have to check what's causing the trouble. A worn-out shock and strut boot may be the reason why they're acting up or working badly.
Here are answers to commonly asked questions about shocks, struts, and their boots:
What's the difference between shocks and struts?
Although similar in function, these two components vary in terms of design. Struts are structural components in a suspension system. They dampen shocks or impact through the coil spring mechanism. They may also replace conventional suspension parts such as the upper control arm and can be used as a pivot point for steering. Shock absorbers, on the other hand, are mechanical devices designed with spring-loaded check valves. Their main purpose is to keep the car from bouncing excessively through controlled spring movement.
Why does a shock and strut boot fail?
Over time, boots on the shocks or struts can harden. They may crack and wear out completely. Damaged boots can keep the shocks and struts from working properly. Without good-quality boots, shocks and struts may fail. As a result, your car's suspension may suffer. You may experience rough handling or bumpy rides.
How will you know if you have bad shocks or struts? How can you tell if the shock and strut boot needs some changing?
If the vehicle bottoms out, rear shocks and struts could be the ones to blame. In case of t forward plunge or nose dive, the ones you should be looking at are the front shocks and struts. You may also have to deal with bouncy rides and unpredictable vehicle handling. If you experience any of these while driving, you have to check these suspension parts to see if they're the ones causing the problems or if the boots are already cracked or worn out and need to be replaced.
What are things to look for when replacing the shock and strut boot?
Look for boots that are specially designed to fit the shocks or struts that you have on your vehicle. They should meet your car's suspension requirements. These boots should be sturdy enough to protect the rods. They should have the right features to keep moisture and contaminants from accumulating in the strut housing or around the shock absorber, causing rust and corrosion. Never settle for poor-quality boots. Instead, opt for those made of premium-quality materials for reliable strength and durability.
What are effective ways to check for faulty shocks and struts?
You can do the oil or air leak test. Oil leaks on shocks and struts are easier to trace. You can usually spot the drip or spill on the ground. For air-filled shocks and struts, the best way to check for leaks is to spray soapy water on them, along with the hoses and connecting lines. If you see air bubbles seeping through, then this means that there's a leak on that spot.
Another thing you can do is the bounce test. Apply some weight on the front or back end of the vehicle. Press it down hard and then relieve the pressure to see if the car will bounce or not. If the car bounces, chances are you have bad shocks and struts.
As you check the shocks and struts for damage, also inspect each shock and strut boot to see if any of them is already cracked and needs to be replaced.