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Improving my sloshy Mercury Cougar...

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DEAR TOM AND RAY:
I OWN A 1987 MERCURY COUGAR. I BOUGHT IT USED AND HAVE ALWAYS FELT THAT IT NEEDED NEW SHOCKS. RECENTLY, I READ IN CONSUMER REPORTS THAT THE SUSPENSION ON THIS YEAR AND MODEL RATES BELOW AVERAGE. IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO TO GIVE IT A BETTER RIDE?
LAURA

TOM: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, LAURA, WHEN CONSUMER REPORTS GIVES RATINGS LIKE "ABOVE AVERAGE" OR "BELOW AVERAGE," IT'S REFERRING TO THE REPAIR RECORD OF THE SUSPENSION, NOT NECESSARILY THE QUALITY OF THE RIDE.

RAY: YOU DON'T TELL US WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE RIDE, SO WE'RE GOING TO ASSUME THAT YOU MEAN THE HANDLING IS TOO SLOSHY...

TOM: OH, THERE'S GOES MY BROTHER AGAIN WITH A HIGHLY TECHNICAL AUTOMOTIVE TERM: SLOSHY!

RAY: WELL, WHAT I MEAN IS THAT THE CAR BOUNCES AND LEANS TOO MUCH. IF THAT'S THE CASE, YOU MAY VERY WELL NEED NEW SHOCKS. IF THEY'VE NEVER BEEN CHANGED, IT'S PROBABLY TIME. TAKE THE CAR TO A MECHANIC YOU TRUST AND ASK HIM TO TEST THE SHOCKS. IF THEY'RE SHOT (ANOTHER TECHNICAL TERM), FOUR NEW ONES COULD MAKE A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE.

TOM: NEW SHOCKS WILL NOT ONLY MAKE YOU MORE COMFORTABLE, LAURA, THEY'LL MAKE YOU SAFER, TOO. THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF SHOCK ABSORBERS IS TO KEEP THE TIRES FIRMLY PRESSED AGAINST THE ROAD. IF YOUR SHOCKS ARE WORN OUT, THE TIRES CAN BOUNCE TOO MUCH WHEN YOU GO OVER BUMPS. IF YOUR TIRES ON IN THE AIR WHEN THEY SHOULD BE ON THE ROAD, IT CAN SPELL DISASTER WHEN YOU SUDDENLY NEED TO SWERVE OR MAKE AN EMERGENCY STOP (YOU KNOW, FOR A YARD SALE OR SOME?THING).

RAY: SO, LAURA, IT'S TIME TO STOP BEING A CHEAPSKATE. IF YOU THOUGHT THIS COUGAR NEEDED SHOCKS FROM THE DAY YOU BOUGHT IT, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? BOUNCE AND SLOSH DOWN TO YOUR MECHANIC TODAY AND GET THE BALL ROLLING.
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