Join the Car Talk Community!

Diagnose with shocking results!

Dear Tom and Ray:

I think I may be your biggest fan. I have a 1986 Celica GT with 45,000 miles on it. How does one determine when the shocks should be replaced? It seems that the old jump-on-the-bumper-and-count-how-many-times-it-bounces test is not very accurate.

TOM: If you're really our biggest fan, Blair, you should have no problem testing your shocks--because being able to push down real hard on the bumper is the only requirement.

RAY: You need to perform the test on each corner of the car. Push down hard on the bumper three or four times--really get the car moving. Then let go when the bumper is at the bottom of its travel.

TOM: If the car comes back up to the top and stops dead, the shock is OK. If it continues to move up and down even a tiny bit, it may be time for a replacement.

RAY: It's conceivable that your shocks are still fine, even after 45,000 miles. But if you're not sure, take the car to your friendly local muffler and shock dealer. He'll do the same test you did, and if necessary, he'll check the shocks for leakage. I'm sure he'll give you a professional, and honest opinion. Of course, you should be prepared to drive out of there with five new shocks. Four on the car and one from the size of the bill. Good luck, Blair.
Tags (Browse All)

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login / Signup
Support for Car Talk is provided by:

Donate Your Car,
Support Your NPR Station

...and get a tax break!

Get Started

Find a Mechanic

Promo tile

Rocket Fuel