Can I Drive with Bad Shocks or Struts?

While they differ in many ways, shocks and struts exhibit similar symptoms when they fail.

If your vehicle is experiencing a bouncy and rough ride and difficulty controlling the vehicle, you may have worn or broken struts or shocks. If you’re worried you may have faulty shocks or struts, you might wonder if you can continue driving the vehicle.

Well, the short answer is: kind of… but it should be avoided. 

Yes, the car will continue to drive at least semi-normally when on broken suspension components, but it changes the dynamics and behavior of the vehicle so heavily that it may be very dangerous in evasive driving or subpar road conditions.

Keep reading to hear what you should do about your suspension issues.

What are Shocks and Struts

As we talked about before, shocks and struts are similar parts with a few major differences. Both parts look similar and reside in the same area. They also both have hydraulic fluid for absorbing bumps and potholes. 

However, while shocks are purely for the comfort and control of the vehicle, struts also act as an essential structural component of the suspension and chassis of the vehicle. Struts support the weight of the vehicle, shocks do not. 

Many vehicles have both parts while others only have shocks, and it’s useful to know what is in yours. 

Car suspension shock absorber
Image Courtesy Of: KYB Europe GmbH

Symptoms of Bad Shocks or Struts

While different in functionality, both parts exhibit similar symptoms when they’re in need of replacement. 

  • Unusual tire wear
  • Swaying of the vehicle when turning or changing lanes
  • Rubbing, grinding, or creaking noises
  • Vehicle dives when braking
  • Car bottoms out easily over bumps or dips
  • Bumpy and bouncy ride feeling

Can I Drive on Broken Shocks or Struts

It can be very dangerous to drive on broken suspension components. The vehicle will drive much differently and react unpredictably to uneven surfaces and high-speed maneuvers. Not only that, but bad struts or shocks can significantly increase braking distance.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of broken shocks/struts, you should bring your car to a professional as soon as possible to have the components replaced.

The car will continue to operate though, and it will be safe to drive to a close repair shop at low speeds with slow cornering and lane changes. 

If, however, you continue to drive on broken suspension, it can cause some problems safety aside. The surrounding suspension components will wear much faster when driving on faulty shocks and struts, as now they have to take the brunt of the impact from the road. 

Your tires will also have a bad time. They’ll wear much quicker and unevenly, leading to you needing to replace the tires much earlier than you’d like. 

While suspension repair might seem expensive now, you’ll have to do it eventually, and delaying it only leads to more to fix down the line.

How can I Prolong the Life of My Struts and Shocks?

There are definitely a few steps drivers can take to extend the life of their suspension components. 

  • Avoid large bumps and potholes
  • Have suspension inspected periodically
  • Replace surrounding suspension components when needed

The Wrap Up

So, back to the original question.

Can you? Yes.

Should you? No. Not unless you’re on the way to get them replaced.

Replacing your struts or shocks is a great way to keep you and your vehicle safe, as well as extend the life of the parts and tires around them. 

Suspension Service and Repair at Micro Import Service

Micro Import Service in Tucson, Arizona is here to take care of you and your vehicle and ensure your suspension keeps you safe and your vehicle comfortable. Don’t let suspension issues linger, call or schedule online today to meet with our ASE-certified technicians!