(NC) If your vehicle isn’t as smooth to drive after a few years, it probably has something to do with its suspension system. This is called ride control. It’s really a combination of all the factors that determine how well your car, truck or SUV navigates the road while it’s in motion.

Many believe ride comfort is the main reason shocks or struts may need replacing. However, ride control is especially important with today’s antilock brake and stability control systems, as well as electronic suspensions and self-leveling suspensions.

With all these variables, however, the vehicle’s suspension system — including the shocks, struts, and springs — must be in good condition. Worn suspension components may reduce the stability of the vehicle and passenger comfort. Even more concerning, it can reduce your braking distance.

Worn out shock absorbers not only affect your ride, they will impact wear and tear on your tires, because when shocks get bad enough, they will affect how well your tires contact the road. Bad shocks often cause what’s known as “cupping,” where you can see small patches of heavy wear created when a tire bounces as it rolls. Steering stability and control will be improved and excessive wear on tires will be reduced by eliminating excessive bounce or vibration.

“You should replace your shock absorbers if your car keeps on bouncing well past a bump. Another indicator is if oil can be seen leaking out of them,” says Darryl Croft, automotive expert at OK Tire. “You shouldn’t ignore these signs. It’s possible you could lose control in certain situations, such as if your vehicle hits a bump and bounces when you’re trying to negotiate a curve or make a lane change. Your ride quality will immediately improve when you install new shock absorbers.”

It only takes a few minutes to conduct an electronic shock or bounce test to ensure your shock absorbers and suspension systems are operating efficiently. Preventive maintenance is the key to avoiding more expensive repairs down the road and keeping you and your passengers safe. If your vehicle’s suspension system is telling you it needs to be checked and new shocks are needed, don’t hesitate to replace them.

Find more information at www.oktire.com.