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Car Bouncing Up and Down While Driving? – Expert Tips

If you feel your car bouncing up and down excessively while driving or when coming to a stop, it’s time to inspect your shocks and struts. This article covers 6 steps you’ll need to take to check your suspension, and in this video our mechanic Andy reviews how to diagnose the shocks and struts if you have a bouncier ride when driving.

How to Inspect a Car, Truck, or SUV That’s Bouncing When Driving

Mechanic reviewing struts, which are a common cause for a car to be bouncing up and down excessively

If you feel a vibration in the car or steering, and realize that as something doesn’t feel right and your car is bouncing up and down more than usual, your shocks and struts might be worn.

Why Is My Car Bouncing When I Drive?

If your car feels bouncy when driving and if you hear creaks and notice it especially when driving over bumps, your shocks and struts might be worn and they can wear out for many different reasons.

We cover what to look for and how to tell if you need new shocks or struts.

Check the Shocks and Struts on a Car Bouncing Up and Down

The strut has a coil-over spring that wraps around the strut, and it also has a boot with a little bumper. The strut attaches to the knuckle, which will pivot back and forth when you turn the wheel, and it absorbs the impact from the wheels hitting the road.

If there are shocks at the rear, checking them is a bit of a different process than checking the struts. One less part to check is the coil spring since a shock doesn’t have one.

More on the difference between shocks and struts

How to check shocks and struts in a car that’s bouncing while driving

  1. Look for Damage to the Body of the Strut

    Look for damage to the strut body, like bends and dents. Driving over bumps and debris like rocks can damage the strut, and a good-sized bend or dent can cause it to have trouble working and need a replacement.

  2. Check for Fluid Leaking from the Shock or Strut

    Look underneath the boot and notice the shaft that goes into the strut. If dirt and debris collects there, that could cause leaks.  

    If you see fluid leaking, you’ll need new struts.

    A strut that’s leaking will need to be replaced. Check for oil dripping out of it or oil leaking from it to the ground. Not replacing a leaking strut can cause other suspension issues and it can wear out the tires.

    More on leaking struts

  3. Check for Rust

    A lot of rust and corrosion means the shock will need to be replaced. The shock will continue to corrode and eventually leak and break.

  4. Check the Bushings

    The bushings can also create noise if they’re worn. Check the bushings for wear and damage, like dry-rotting and cracking. If they’re damaged, the shock can rattle around and make a noise.

  5. Check the Coil-Over Spring on the Strut

    Worn suspension components can cause the strut to wear out faster, like the coil spring. Check the coil spring for cracks. Springs often crack at the bottom near the strut base or at the top near the strut mount. If the spring is cracked, the strut needs replacing.

  6. Check the Tires

    If the shock absorbers aren’t doing their job by absorbing the impact from the wheels on the road, there will be more wear on the tire. The wear will be uneven and the life of the tire will be reduced if the shock absorber is damaged.

How to Remove and Replace Shocks and Struts on a Car Bouncing Up and Down

The process won’t be exactly the same for every shock or strut on every vehicle, but here’s the steps for a typical shock or strut repair.

General Steps for Removing and Installing Struts

These are general steps for removing and installing a pre-assembled strut assembly

  1. With the wheel on ground, loosen the lug nuts from the tire
  2. Raise and secure the vehicle with a jack and jack stands
  3. Remove the lug nuts the rest of the way
  4. Take off the tire
  5. Remove or secure any brake parts out of the way if necessary
  6. Remove or disconnect the ABS wire from the strut if needed
  7. Support the control arm with a jack if needed
  8. Loosen the lower bolts on the strut
  9. Loosen the upper bolts on the strut
  10. Remove the lower bolts
  11. Pry the strut out
  12. Remove the upper bolts
  13. Pull the strut down and out
  14. Reverse these steps to reinstall

General Steps for Removing and Installing Shocks

  1. With the tire on the ground, loosen the lug nuts
  2. Raise and secure the vehicle with a jack and jack stands
  3. With the vehicle raised, remove the rest of the lug nuts
  4. Remove or secure any brake parts to access the shock if needed
  5. Support the control arm with a jack if needed
  6. Remove the lower bolt from the shock
  7. Remove the upper bolts and bushing from the shock
  8. Pull the shock down and out
  9. Prepare the new shock
  10. Reverse these steps to reinstall

How-to Videos for More DIY Auto Repairs

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Car Bouncing Up and Down While Driving? - Expert Tips - 1A Auto

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Car Bouncing Up and Down While Driving? – Expert Tips – 1A Auto

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If your car is bouncing up and down while driving it’s time to check the struts and shocks. Find out what to do if your car is bouncing excessively with these steps from experienced mechanics.

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1A Auto Team

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1A Auto

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