When it comes to safety on the road, shocks and struts are one of the most overlooked parts of a vehicle inspection since wear happens so gradually over time. Car professionals typically advise to replace the shocks on your Hyundai every 50,000 miles, but it can vary if you drive on rough roads or carry heavy loads, which puts more stress on the shocks.
Since worn shocks on your Hyundai could be putting your safety at risk, we strongly recommend checking your vehicle for common signs that your shocks need replacing.
If you’re located near us in Stockton, California, you know about the tule fog that rolls in during the winter. Since visibility can drop to 10 feet to zero in just a matter of yards, it’s no surprise that tule fog is the leading cause for weather-related accidents in the Central Valley.
With visibility like that, it’s extremely important to have a reliable set of shocks on your Sonata, since they help your car brake quickly and efficiently. Even without the threat of California’s tule fog, being able to break in time could save you from a nasty accident.
Other than keeping you safe, reliable shocks can also extend the lifetime of your Sonata. Shocks keep your vehicle from bouncing around too much while you drive and brake. Worn out shocks don’t give you the same level of stability, so they can damage other parts of your vehicle by rattling them around too much.
Luckily, there are a lot of ways to check the condition of the shocks in your Hyundai without taking your vehicle to the shop. Keep your family safe and take a few minutes to check your car for these signs that your shocks need replacing.
Physical Signs of a Damaged Shock
1. Dented shock body
If there’s physical damage to your shock, that can hurt how well it works when you’re trying to brake. Check the shock’s body for dents, cuts, cracks, or other physical signs of damage. This damage could be affecting the other parts in your vehicle’s suspension system, causing those parts to wear out faster too.
You should also check the mounts, brushing, and other pieces directly surrounding the shocks or struts. Parts that are broken, corroded, or worn will affect how your shock performs.
2. Fluid leaking from shock
Another way to spot a damaged shock is by checking for leaking fluid. Shocks on your Sonata are filled with hydraulic fluid, which is how they stabilize your vehicle and keep you in control. If you see or feel any hydraulic fluid or oil on the outside of your shock, then it’s probably damaged and must be replaced.
You may also feel a thick layer of grime on the shock. It’s normal to have dirt from the road on your Hyundai’s shocks, but discoloration or excessive dirt or grime buildup often means that something is wrong.
3. Cupped, uneven tire wear
Walk around your vehicle to check the tread of your tires. When the shocks on your Sonata are worn out, your tires no longer have an optimal contact with the road. As a result, some parts of your tire will get more wear than others, which will go on to affect your tires’ grip on the road and your control over the vehicle.
Vehicle Handing Signs of a Damaged Shock
4. Excessive vehicle bounce
Since shocks are supposed to keep your car from bouncing around too much, it makes sense that this is one of the easiest ways to tell that something’s wrong.
Does driving in your Sonata feel bumpy or shaky? You might not have noticed it off hand, since you’re used to that kind of ride. Take your car for a short drive around the block, paying special attention to how steady and smooth your car drives.
You can also test this by pushing on the corner of your vehicle to see how much it sways under your weight. Park your Hyundai on level ground and press down on each corner’s bumper as hard as you can. You should be able to press it down a few inches.
When you let go, watch the car’s movement. The car should bounce up once before settling back down to its normal position. In the field, they call this “one rebound, one half jounce.” If any corner moves more than one and a half times, then it may be time to replace the shocks on your Hyundai.
5. Nose dive when braking, “squatting” when accelerating
When you brake, does the nose of your vehicle dip excessively low? A little bit of dipping is normal, but excessive nose diving when you brake is a sign that your Hyundai’s shocks are worn and need to be replaced.
At the same time, you may experience “squatting” when you accelerate from a dead stop. This is when your Hyundai’s nose rises slightly in the air after you hit the gas pedal.
Since it can be difficult to see while you’re driving, have a friend or family member watch as you brake and accelerate.
6. Longer stopping distance
Worn shocks on your Hyundai can increase the time it takes to brake by as much as ten feet. If your car can’t brake as quickly as it used to be able to, it could be due to worn out shocks.
This could also be caused by a problem in your braking system, so a longer stopping distance by itself isn’t a surefire way to identify a broken shock. Regardless, stay safe and get your brakes checked if it takes too long to safely come to a stop.
7. Poor steering response
You should also be able to notice a difference in your steering when the shocks on your Hyundai are worn out.
Are there vibrations or strange noises from the steering wheel when you drive? It’s also common to experience a poor steering response or stiffness in the wheel when you try to turn. You might also notice less control, like feeling your car veer in mild winds.
8. Excessive leaning on turns
When shocks on your Hyundai are worn, your drive will feel looser. Does your car sway when you switch lanes or lean too much on turns? When you feel your car leaning even on the slightest turns, it called “body roll” and could signal worn shocks on your Sonata.
Since shocks and struts are often overlooked, these worn parts on your Hyundai Sonata could be putting you and your family in danger. You might not notice it right away either, because shocks wear out slowly over time. As they wear out, drivers typically adjust their driving to compensate for the loss in control and responsiveness instead of recognizing the problem.
If you do find that you need to replace your Sonata’s shocks and want to fix it yourself, remember that shocks should always be replaced as a pair. If one of your front shocks appears damaged based on these signs, replace both front shocks at the same time.