How Long Do Shocks & Struts Last?

Shocks and struts are some of those components you really only notice when they’re not doing their job properly. They keep your vehicle riding smoothly over various bumps and dips along the road, so when they’re in need of replacement, you’ll notice a decrease in ride quality.

But how long do you have until yours are in need of replacement? When should you start looking into replacing the shocks and struts on your vehicle?

Shocks vs. Struts: What Are They?

It’s common for the terms shocks and struts to be used interchangeably, and while they are both very similar in appearance, there are some major differences between these components.


The primary purpose of shocks is to absorb the energy from dips and bumps your car’s suspension encounters. Your shocks keep your wheels in contact with the road and your vehicle under control.

Shocks dampen the effects of uneven surfaces with the use of a piston and hydraulic fluid. When going over a bump or dip in the road, the piston pushes against the hydraulic fluid, and small holes allow for fluid to slowly make its way to the other side of the piston, which creates resistance and slows down the suspension travel in both directions. 

Dape13, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Struts provide the same resistance to dips and bumps as well as act as a structural component of the vehicle. Struts are shocks and coil springs combined into a single component. 

Struts use the same hydraulic piston design for dampening but also make use of a strut housing and coil spring to structurally support the suspension. 

So not only do struts keep your ride comfortable, but they also provide valuable support to the spring and hold the tires in the proper position. Because of this, struts are able to take the place of upper control arms and ball joints on suspension systems that use them. 

Signs that I Need to Replace My Shocks or Struts

Suspension components fail gradually over time, which means you should keep an eye out for telltale symptoms such as:

  • Instability at highway speeds
  • Tires “bouncing” after hitting bumps
  • Leaking hydraulic fluid around shocks/struts
  • Vehicle dives forward under heavy braking
  • Vehicle sways to the side when turning
  • Squeaking or rubbing noise over bumps and dips

How Long Do Shocks & Struts Last?

The lifespan of your shocks and struts depends on a variety of factors. The make and model of the vehicle will affect it significantly, as different manufacturers use different qualities of components and suspension types. 

One of the largest of these factors is how the vehicle has been driven, as aggressive driving or harsh road conditions reduce the lifespan of suspension components. Those who often drive on uneven roads or take their vehicles off-road will see their shocks/struts deteriorate quicker than those who mostly commute on highways and city streets.

Most shocks or struts will need replacement at some point between 50,000-100,000 miles. While this isn’t a steadfast rule, you should keep a closer eye on your suspension during this time. 

How Do I Maximize the Life of My Shocks or Struts

The best way to get the most out of your shocks and struts is to protect them while driving. Driving less aggressively can help extend their life as they’ll take less of an impact around corners and over bumps. Rough roads will also accelerate the deterioration of the components, so they should be avoided if possible. 

Proper alignment is also crucial for protecting your suspension, as even a small change in the alignment can cause your shocks or struts to wear quickly. 

Suspension Service & Repair at Red Rock Repair

If you’re looking for quality suspension services in the Las Vegas area, look no further than Red Rock Repair in Summerlin. Our ASE-certified technicians have years of experience working on suspension systems of all makes and models. Whatever your issue is, call or request an appointment online with us today! 

Better Service Starts Here!

We know just how impotant it is to have a repair shop you can trust. Red Rock Repair offers a level of service you wont find anywhere else in Las Vegas!

DIRECTIONS (702) 385-7887

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