Oil Change: How to Inspect Your Car’s Oil

For vehicle owners, regular oil changes are an essential auto maintenance task that helps ensure a car’s engine will run smoothly for years to come. Changing your motor oil regularly helps remove dirt and particles from the engine and lubricate it, resulting in improved performance, lower emissions, and better fuel economy.

Oil plays an integral role in keeping your engine running both efficiently and safely, but as important as it is to get regular oil changes, it’s just as crucial to check on the condition of your oil before each change. Doing so allows you to identify any auto problems that may be present beneath the hood while they’re still minimal.

Reasons to Inspect Your Oil Before an Oil Change

Inspecting your oil before an oil change is a wise preventive measure that can help you to avoid potential issues with your vehicle’s engine. Properly monitoring the condition of oil in your car, truck, or SUV can alert you to any existing problems while they are still small and easily remedied. This helps keep your automobile running smoothly, safely, and efficiently.

Oil Filter Issues

Oil that is too dark or has a burnt odor can indicate an oil leak or a clogged oil filter. If this problem is not identified and addressed in time, it can lead to more serious issues, such as oil sludge build-up in the engine. Oil sludge will cause your car’s oil to become less effective at lubricating the engine’s various components; this could eventually cause them to wear out prematurely.

Fuel Injector Issues

Inspecting oil before an oil change helps identify any unusual odors like gasoline being present in your oil. This could be caused by a leaking fuel injector or fuel injector seal, which requires prompt attention from a qualified auto service professional. Otherwise, the problem could lead to an oil-fuel mixture that is less effective at lubricating your engine and can create a dangerous build-up of pressure in the oil system.

Miscellaneous Issues

Oil that contains metal shavings or other debris is indicative of an underlying issue with parts such as the oil pump, oil pan gasket, or valve cover seal. All these problems need to be addressed before they get worse and possibly cause even more damage to your engine.

How to Inspect Your Car’s Oil

Inspecting oil is a relatively easy process, and there are a few practical steps you can take to check the oil in your car.

  1. First, pop the hood of your vehicle and locate the oil dipstick. Wipe it off with a clean rag or cloth, then re-insert it into its tube. Pull it out again and check the oil level on the dipstick; it should be between two marks on the dipstick showing “safe” levels of oil.
  2. Next, check for oil leaks around any hoses or gaskets that connect to the engine block, as well as any loose connections that could result in oil seeping out. Pay special attention to areas around the oil filter and oil pan gasket, which are often sources of oil leaks.
  3. Finally, look at the oil itself. Your oil’s color should be amber or yellow; if it’s black, that means the oil is burning off and needs to be changed. Check for any debris as well as the oil’s smell – if it has a gas-like odor, that could mean there’s a fuel injector leak.

If you notice any of these oil issues, it’s important to take your car to an auto service professional right away for further inspection and potential repairs.

Professional Auto Maintenance and Oil Change in Gilbert, AZ

Highline Car Care is an expert auto service company providing oil changes and other auto maintenance services in Gilbert, AZ. Our team of certified technicians specializes in oil changes, oil filter replacements, oil inspection services, and more. We use only high-quality oil and oil filters to ensure your engine is running at its best. Contact us today to schedule an oil change or any other auto service your car may need.

Top 5 Auto Repair Services to Get Your Car Ready for the Holidays

The holidays are a time for friends, family, and festivities. It’s also a time when your car needs to be in top condition. From long road trips to crowded parking lots, there are countless opportunities for things to go wrong. If your car isn’t in good condition this time of year, it can add a lot of stress to an already hectic season.

To avoid holiday car problems, here are five auto repair services you should consider:

Tire Replacement or Repair

If your tires are getting low on tread, it’s time to replace them. This is especially critical if you’re going to be doing any long-distance driving over the holidays. Worn-out tires can lead to blowouts, which can be dangerous. If you can’t afford new tires, at least get them patched up so they’ll last a little longer.

Battery Replacement or Repair

A dead battery is usually the main culprit when cars unexpectedly break down. If your car’s battery is more than three years old, it might be a wise decision to have it tested and replaced if necessary. This is especially important if you live in an area with cold winters, as cold weather can shorten the lifespan of batteries.

Oil Change

An oil change is something you should do every few months regardless, but it’s especially important before a long road trip. Old oil can cause your engine to overheat, which can lead to serious damage – and no one likes being stranded in a parking lot or on the side of the road during a busy holiday rush.

Brake Replacement or Repair

Brakes are possibly the most important safety feature of your car, so it’s important to make sure they’re in good condition. If your brakes are making strange noises or not functioning as they’re supposed to, it’s time for a replacement or repair. This is one auto repair service you don’t want to put off, as bad brakes can put you at risk of getting into an accident.

Transmission Flush

This auto repair service involves getting all the old fluid out of your transmission and replacing it with fresh, clean fluid. This helps extend the life of your transmission and prevent problems down the road. Much like an oil change, a transmission flush is something you should do every so often to keep your car in good condition.

If you’re due for any of these auto repair services, it’s best to get them done before the holidays. That way, you can relax and enjoy time with your family and friends without having to worry about car troubles.

Auto Repair in Gilbert, AZ

Don’t let car problems ruin your holiday season. If you’re looking for auto repair services in Gilbert, AZ during the year’s busiest time, there are plenty of options. Whether you need tire replacement, battery repair, an oil change, or anything else, the team at Highline Car Care will be able to help you get your car ready for the holiday season.

Contact us today at (480) 933-5255 to schedule an appointment! From all of us here at Highline Car Care, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season!

4 Signs Your Car Needs an Oil Change

How often do you change your car’s oil? If you can’t remember the previous time you had an oil change, it’s probably been too long. When it comes to car maintenance, one of the most critical things you can do is keep up with regular oil changes, especially if you want to avoid costly repairs and keep your car running smoothly.

At Highline Car Care, we recommend getting your oil changed every 3,000 miles or every 6 months, whichever comes first. Contact us today at (480) 336-2889 to schedule an oil change in Gilbert, AZ! However, if you’re not one to keep up with your car’s maintenance schedule, keep in mind these telltale signs indicating it’s time for an oil change.

1. The Oil Light Comes On

The oil light is one of the easiest ways to know it’s time for an oil change. If it comes on in your car, it means that the oil pressure inside your engine is low and needs to be replenished. A drop in oil pressure can be caused by several things, such as oil leaks, oil sludge, or simply being low on oil.

The oil keeps all of the moving parts within your engine lubricated and running smoothly. When oil levels get low, it can cause friction between these parts, leading to expensive damage.

2. Your Exhaust Smells Bad

If you notice your car’s exhaust smells bad, it could be a sign that your oil needs to be changed. When oil breaks down, it can start to form sludge, which can clog up your engine and cause your car to emit strange smells.

3. You’ve Been Driving a Lot

If you’ve been putting a lot of miles on your car lately, it’s probably time for an oil change. Most mechanics recommend getting a professional oil change every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, although this number can differ depending on the model and make of your car as well as the type of oil used. If you’re not sure how often to change your oil, consult your car’s owner’s manual or ask a mechanic.

4. Strange Engine Noises

Another sign that you need an oil change is if your engine starts to make strange noises. If you notice your car making a knocking sound when you start it up, this is a sign of low oil pressure and means you’re due for an oil change.

If you hear any other strange noises coming from your engine, such as hissing or bubbling sounds, it’s best to take your car to a mechanic right away to have it checked out. These could be signs of bigger issues beyond just needing an oil change.

What Happens If You Don’t Keep Up with Oil Changes?

If you don’t keep up with oil changes, it can cause some serious damage to your car. Not changing your oil can also cause your engine to overheat. Since oil helps keep the engine cool, a lack of oil or dirty oil can cause the engine to overwork and eventually overheat. This could do some serious damage to your engine that may be irreversible.

Schedule an Oil Change in Gilbert, AZ

If it’s been a while since your last oil change, or if you’re due for one based on the mileage on your car, don’t wait any longer.

At Highline Car Care, we provide oil change services to help keep your car running smoothly. We can also check for any other issues that may be causing your car problems and recommend the best course of action. 

We understand the significance of having a dependable technician on your side. Since 15 years ago, we’ve treated every customer with a level of respect and courtesy as if they were our own family. We have been in your shoes before, and we strive to make each visit as pleasant and painless as possible.

Contact us today at (480) 336-2889 to schedule an appointment!

Major Problems that Occur When You Skip Your Oil Change Service

As a car owner, you know your vehicle requires routine maintenance to function properly and last as long as possible.

You’re probably aware that you should change your oil regularly, but you’re probably unaware of why. An oil change is an essential thing that you can do for your car because it protects other engine components.

Car manufacturers like Toyota, Nissan, and General Motors advise car owners to have the oil changed every 5,000 miles. Yes, the frequency may vary from one car manufacturer to another, but the message remains the same.

If you’re unfamiliar with oil changes or why they’re so important, this article will explain what they are, why they’re so important, and the problems you can expect if you choose to skimp on your oil change.

What Is An Engine Oil Change Service?

Highline Car Care filling the antifreeze tank in Gilbert, AZ

An oil change replaces old motor oil in a car’s engine with new oil. This is done because engine oil degrades and becomes less effective over time, increasing the risk of engine damage.

While new engines are built to last longer and run more efficiently, they still require routine maintenance, such as oil changes.

However, most people don’t consider how significant oil changes are to the overall health of their car until something goes wrong. Let’s look at why oil changes are essential and what problems you can avoid by changing your oil regularly.

Engine Damage

An oil change helps to prevent engine damage by removing oil buildup.

The oil in your engine will degrade over time due to heat, friction, and pressure. This oil collects contaminants that can damage critical engine parts as it powers your engine. A regular oil change will remove this buildup, extending the life of engine components.

An oil change can also help prevent engine damage caused by low oil levels. If your engine runs out of oil, it can severely damage internal components. This is particularly true in modern engines that run on synthetic oils. These oils are more expensive than conventional ones, but they better protect against engine wear and tear.

If your vehicle’s engine is equipped with a low oil sensor, you may receive an alert when the oil level is low. However, it is best to check your oil level regularly and get an oil change when necessary.

Limited Engine Performance and Fuel Inefficiency

Neglected oil changes can cause a vehicle to be inefficient in fuel consumption.

Oil over six months old tends to break down and thicken, a process known as viscosity breakdown. This impairs your engine’s ability to efficiently regulate internal temperatures and causes your vehicle to become sluggish.

If you change your car’s oil regularly, you can avoid problems with viscosity breakdown and improve the oil’s ability to transfer heat away from critical components. It can also remove air bubbles, which can cause your engine to struggle when running at full power.

Oil changes can also help your engine run at a cooler temperature. An overheated engine can cause severe damage and reduce the lifespan of critical parts.

Protection Against Sludge And Deposits

An oil change can protect your engine from sludge and deposits, which can cause damage.

Oil can collect tiny particles of dirt and debris as it degrades. These particles can build up and cause deposits in your engine. Sludge and deposits can reduce oil flow and cause critical parts to fail.

On the other hand, changing your oil can remove larger particles from your engines, such as grit and dirt, that would otherwise accumulate in deposits.

Compromised Driving Experience

Driving with a clogged engine or low oil levels can result in severe internal component damage and, as a result, unsafe driving conditions.

For example, we’ve discussed how not changing your oil can cause your engine to run at high temperatures. Temperatures in the engine that are too low or too high can jeopardize the structural integrity of various components.

An oil change, on the other hand, can help remove sludge and deposits and protect against engine damage or failure caused by low oil levels.

How Often Should You Change Your Car’s Oil, and Can I DIY?

when to have oil change service

As previously stated, you should change the oil according to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule for your vehicle. However, if you don’t have the owner’s or vehicle’s manual, there are methods to determine the recommended oil change schedule, including how to DIY.

Various online guides, for example, will provide this information based on the make, model, and year of your vehicle.

However, if you want to do it yourself, ensure your car is parked on a level surface and that you have the correct amount of oil for your vehicle. This will help prevent oil from spilling out of the engine while removing the old oil filter. Wear protective clothing because oil changes can be messy.

Finally, make sure to use a high-quality filter. You don’t want to skimp on the filter because it will affect your vehicle’s performance.

Need Help With Oil Change in Gilbert, AZ for Your Car? Contact Us Today

best oil change service in gilbert

An oil change is much more than a quick trip to the gas station. It’s a necessary part of car maintenance that helps protect and extend the life of your engine. This is especially important if you have an older vehicle.

Why not contact Highline Car Care for more information on how to keep your car healthy and happy for many miles to come? We provide the best auto repair and maintenance services in Gilbert, AZ, and the surrounding areas.

Call us at (480) 933-5255 to speak with one of our automotive experts today.

How to Check Your Fluid Levels on Your Car

Checking your vehicle’s fluid levels is an important part of preventative maintenance. By regularly checking your car’s fluid levels, you can help to make sure everything continues to run smoothly, anticipating problems before they become too severe, and saving yourself time and money in the long run. Ultimately, effectively keeping tabs on your power steering fluid, transmission fluids, engine oil, coolant, brake fluid, and windshield washer fluid can ensure you get the absolute most from your vehicle.

What Is the Purpose of the Fluids in My Vehicle?

For many car owners, fluids are an afterthought. They may not spend much time considering them, or the important role they play in their vehicle. But fluids are essential for effective vehicle operation, playing essential roles in fuel economy.

Each type of fluid has its unique role to play — in short, they are as follows:

  • Engine oil lubricates the engine and keeps its operation smooth
  • Power steering fluid allows for smoother steering of your vehicle
  • Coolant helps to regulate engine temperature in both hot and cold weather
  • Brake fluid allows for smooth braking when pressurized, by forcing the brake pads to clamp down on the car’s rotors
  • Transmission fluids help to lubricate the gears, valves, and clutches, to keep everything operating smoothly
  • Windshield washer fluid is used to keep the windshield clear and easily visible for the driver

How To Check the 6 Essential Fluids In Your Car

Checking vehicle fluid levels is not especially difficult but takes a little bit of time. Before checking fluids, you should take a couple of preliminary steps.

First, consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual. This will have instructions on checking levels and will note particularities of where on your vehicle you should check levels. You will also want to ensure you are refilling any low fluids with the correct variety of fluid.

Second, set up an appropriate workspace. Ensure you are parked on level ground, with the emergency brake on. Assemble supplies, including necessary replacement fluids, funnels, catch pans, rags, gloves, and protective glasses.

Once you are all set up, here is how to check the necessary fluids in your vehicle.

Engine Oil

Engine oil plays an essential function in lubricating the movement of engine parts, which must spin thousands of times each minute. To check the engine oil, follow these steps:

  • Let the car cool down for at least ten minutes after driving, to allow engine oil to cool and settle
  • Remove the engine oil dipstick, clean it, and place it back in. Remove the oil dipstick a second time and confirm the reading. There should be “maximum” and “minimum” tabs on the dipstick, and you want the oil to be above the minimum, and ideally near the maximum.
  • If the oil is low, add more oil to your engine. You can confirm in the manual what type of oil is best to add.

Power Steering Fluid

It is vital to ensure power steering fluid levels are sufficient in your car. Power steering fluid allows for easy maneuverability, and driving can be much more difficult without it. You may notice your car’s turning is sluggish, which is a good indication to check the power steering fluid.

You will follow similar steps to check the fluid level. Depending on the type of engine, you may check the reservoir directly, or use a dipstick (as with engine oil).

  • (If filling a reservoir directly), identify the power steering fluid reservoir
  • Wipe it clean to identify the fluid level
  • If the level is low according to gauge, add more

Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid keeps the transmission components — including gears, clutches, and valves — lubricated and sufficiently cool. Transmissions can be more complicated than other engine parts, and so you may benefit from a mechanic’s help. However, in some cars, you may be able to check it yourself with a dipstick, by following these steps:

  • Turn the car on, and place it in park or neutral
  • Check the fluid level, as you would with any other dipstick
  • Check the fluid condition; if it is unusually dark, milky, smells burnt, or has any material in it, it may need to be changed


Coolant keeps a busily running engine cool, helping to regulate its temperature in all seasons. Check the coolant level with these steps:

  • Let the engine cool, because hot coolant can cause burns
  • If your car has an expansion tank for coolant, check the level and make sure it falls in the appropriate spot
  • If your car does not, ensure the coolant radiator is filled to the top. If it is low, top it off with the same type of coolant.

Brake Fluid

Brake fluid is essential for the proper functioning of hydraulic brakes. To check the fluid, follow these steps:

  • Identify the brake fluid reservoir in the engine
  • Note if the fluid is at an appropriate level in the reservoir; add more if low
  • Ensure the fluid is not cloudy or dark, and replace it if it is

Windshield Washer Fluid

Windshield washer fluid is, in many ways, the easiest fluid to maintain, and it is vital to do so for good visibility. To check the level:

  • Open the reservoir, and fill it with windshield wiper fluid until nearly full; if the fluid is cloudy or looks abnormal, it should be replaced

When Is It Best To Check the Fluid Levels?

The answer to this question varies depending on the type of fluid. For best overall results, it is good to be in the regular habit of checking levels. A good way to do this is to check them when you change your oil, which should be 3000-5000 miles (longer if using synthetic oil). While some may need infrequent changes (or even no changes), it is a good habit to know where they are at.

Windshield washer fluid is an exception. Because it is so easy to fill, it is worth regularly checking when refueling your vehicle.

What Happens If I Run My Vehicle With Low Fluids?

Running your vehicle with low fluids can do significant damage to your engine and other vehicle components, worsen the wear and tear on your car, lower fuel economy, and be very dangerous. Each fluid plays a role; consequently, low levels are problems for unique reasons. Low engine oil or coolant can lead to engine overheating, while low transmission fluid can lead to transmission problems. Low brake fluid can make braking difficult or more dangerous, and low power steering fluid can make turning cumbersome and dangerous. Even low windshield wiper fluid can worsen visibility and present a hazard on the road.


In short, the best course of action is to ensure that the fluids on your vehicle are checked regularly and are in good condition. They each play an essential role, and your vehicle will be worth it without this simple, but essential, maintenance.

It is often worth consulting a mechanic to ensure your car is running smoothly, and to safely address any problems that arise. If you are looking for a great auto mechanic in Gilbert, Arizona, the East Valley, or nearby, contact Highline Car Care. We have a wealth of experience dealing with a variety of car problems, as well as performing preventative maintenance, and can ensure your car gets the treatment it deserves.

Featured Image: zedspider/Shutterstock

4 Common Car Troubles Arizonans Face in the Summer

Here in Gilbert and throughout the surrounding areas, we get some of the hottest summers in the world. As a result, there are certain types of car trouble Arizona residents are more likely to experience. Just like excessive heat can make it hard for you to feel your best, high temperatures can be hard on your vehicle. Here are the four most common types of summer car problems in Arizona.

Battery Problems During Summer

When the temperature gets over 100°F here in Gilbert and the surrounding areas, your battery may corrode more quickly. The heat can also damage the wiring in your vehicle and cause structural damage to your battery by making its fluids evaporate. A faulty battery can get you stranded on the side of the road, and it may lead to other problems in your car’s electrical system as well. Have an auto repair professional look for signs of swelling or corrosion, clean your battery’s terminals, and check your battery voltage during the summer in Arizona.

Hose and Belt Damage

It’s also important to keep a close eye on your car’s hoses and belts when temperatures rise. The heat can lead to cracks, frays, and dry rotting on your belts. These belts may lose tension because of the heat, which will reduce their ability to function appropriately. Furthermore, slick or glazed spots will make the belts slip.

The hoses in your vehicle can also get soft in the heat. Soft spots may lead to cracks, leaks, and bulges. Hard spots on your hoses may be a sign that there has been some melting before the surfaces hardened again. If you notice any type of damage to the hoses in your vehicle, get them replaced before they start leaking.

Air Conditioning Problems

If you haven’t used your air conditioning very much in the last several months, we recommend testing it before the dog days of summer. Make sure the blower motor still works and that the air comes out at a good speed. If your vehicle isn’t getting as cool as it used to, or if it’s taking a long time to cool down, you may need to recharge your air conditioner. Your local car mechanic in Gilbert should be able to take care of this problem for you by adding more refrigerant. It’s a relatively simple solution, and you can save yourself from a lot of discomforts by getting your car air conditioning serviced before your daily commutes or long road trips through the desert in Arizona.

Flat Tires

The pressure in your tires changes with the temperature. When the temperature falls, the air contracts and your tire pressure decreases. During the summer, hot temperatures here in the Gilbert area can lead to excessively high tire pressure. Check your tire pressure regularly to ensure it’s at an appropriate level.

Hot roads in Arizona can also wear the tires more quickly. Inspect them for bulges, tears, punctures, and worn treads. You can slow this wear and tear down by cleaning and treating your tires regularly. If your tires are already damaged, get them changed at an auto repair shop.

Auto Repair in Gilbert

At Highline Car Care, we’ve been serving people from Gilbert and the rest of Arizona for over 15 years. Our team knows what it takes to keep your car running efficiently even on the hottest days of the year, so you can trust us to keep you comfortable and safe. Stop by today for a summer car tune-up.

Image: Patiwat Sariya


How to Tell When Your Car’s AC Needs a Recharge

If you live in Gilbert, AZ, it’s nice to have functional air conditioning in your car for all the obvious reasons. We’re not in the business of telling you things you already know, though, we’re in the business of car repairs and keeping your vehicle in the best possible condition. With that said, let’s get straight into what an AC recharge is and how you know when you need one.

What is an AC Recharge?

Simply put, an AC recharge means adding more refrigerant to your vehicle. This process is a very common maintenance requirement for older vehicles that still use Freon as a refrigerant. Most modern cars have started using a refrigerant called R134a instead, which doesn’t need to be topped off quite as often. If you have a new vehicle that commonly needs more refrigerant, there’s a good chance you have an AC leak somewhere in the system. Either way, we’ll get to the root of the problem and help you stay cool on the road. 

How Do I Know if My Air Conditioner Needs Recharging?

Unless you have at least a little bit of experience in engineering or as a mechanic, you won’t always be able to tell the difference between low AC refrigerant and other problems. Don’t worry about that for now. All you need to recognize is that if you have a malfunctioning car air conditioners in the Arizona heat. When you can’t get cool in your car, it’s time to bring it into a Gilbert repair shop that understands your pain.

When you bring your car in, we’ll investigate an AC leak in addition to other problems. An excellent first step is to examine your AC compressor. By watching how the clutch and pulleys engage, we can usually tell quickly if the problem is low refrigerant, electrical malfunction, or something mechanical.

In the case of an AC leak, bad electrical signals, or mechanical failure, the system may call for other small repairs. In many cases, though, there is a good chance that you need more of a refrigerant like R134a in your vehicle. We’ll get you back to an appropriate level of air conditioning refrigerant and send you on your way. Since we have all the required equipment on-site, it’s as easy as that!

How Often Does My Car AC Need to Be Recharged?

There’s no hard and fast rule here. Some new cars that stay cool with R134a may only need to be recharged every seven years or so. Living in a hot place like Gilbert though, there’s a good chance you’ll feel the need for a recharge even more often than that. Older cars (from before 1994) will need an AC recharge much more frequently, but you can’t even find many good shops that work with R12 Freon in the United States anymore for environmental health reasons.

In 2014, some cars started running on R1234YF. 1234YF is an effective coolant, but unfortunately, not many shops service it. It requires specialized equipment, which makes it hard for these car owners to get their AC recharged. Luckily, we at Highline Car Care are one of the few shops with the appropriate equipment to work with R1234YF.

Air Conditioning Recharge near Gilbert, Arizona

If you notice your car blowing warm air from the vents even once it’s been running, we at Highline Car Care want to help. We live in Gilbert and spend a lot of time in vehicles, so car air conditioners are near and dear to our hearts. We’ve built our name by treating every car like it’s our own, and we’re ready to do the same with yours. Contact us today, then keep your cool and let us repair your vehicle.

Image Credit: Shutterstock/daniiD

Shocks vs Struts: How To Tell the Difference

Shock absorbers and struts provide stability to your car, steadying your tires and suspension in order to prevent jolts every time you accelerate or hit a rough patch in the road. Both of these features are vital to smooth steering and acceleration. Their internal structures are similar, but they work differently and take up a different position under vehicles. Below, you can learn the difference between shocks vs struts.

How Do Struts and Shocks Work?

Shock absorbers don’t support the weight of a vehicle, but they do control the movement of your suspension and springs to keep the wheels steady. They do this by taking the suspension’s kinetic energy and turning it into thermal energy that can be absorbed by the hydraulic fluid.

Shock absorbers generate resistance against the piston in response to the speed at which the suspension moves. Some are velocity-sensitive, which means that they adjust to driving conditions, counteracting the following:

  • Swaying
  • Bouncing movements
  •  Vehicle dive
  •  Squatting while accelerating

Struts can be found mostly on vehicles with front wheel drive and are a part of a suspension’s structure. This is one of the main difference between shocks vs struts because shocks are separate from the suspension system. The struts hold tires in place, keeping them aligned and supporting the spring.

Typical suspension systems have an upper ball joint and upper arm, but a strut takes the place of these two components, with the benefit of being more compact. By taking up this position, they allow the suspension assembly to move along with the vehicle as its direction changes. Struts support the weight of your vehicle using the coil spring, and a damping unit controls the movement of the suspension and the spring. The strut housing provides a rigid casing for these two internal parts.

Are Shocks and Struts Interchangeable?

Shocks and struts have some internal similarities and perform a similar function. Both make use of a piston to push against hydraulic fluid, which allows them to stabilize against your vehicle’s movement. Shock absorbers house a piston and piston rod, which push against the hydraulic fluid in the pressure tube. When the suspension moves, hydraulic fluid is pushed through holes in the piston in order to slow it down. Once it slows, the suspension and spring slow down as a result.

Struts also include the piston and piston rod to control the movement of the suspension and springs, by pushing the hydraulic fluid. The struts resist the up-and-down movement of the suspension and respond to speed by increasing or decreasing the amount of resistance generated.

Though they are similar, vehicles will only have one of these parts at each wheel, never both on one. Any replacement parts should match the original. Shocks cannot be replaced by struts.

When To Replace Shocks and Struts

For most drivers, failing shocks and struts become apparent when they change how it feels to drive a car. Once your shocks or struts stop effectively providing stability to your car, your ride gets much rougher. Roads suddenly seem much bumpier than before, and steering often becomes more difficult and less precise. Braking can also seem shakier than before. Visible leaking fluid is another sign they are worn out.

Because this feature controls so much about your tires, it can cause unusual patterns of tread or tires that seem to be wearing out faster than usual. Lots of driving can also cause them to wear out faster, and an inspection every 50,000 miles can help you identify old or damaged parts before they cause any issues.

Replacing Your Struts or Shocks in Mesa, AZ

Both shocks and struts are vital to controlling your car’s movement. For a smooth, comfortable ride, it’s important to have them inspected regularly. Make an appointment for a thorough inspection at Highline Car Care today.


Image: Nixx Photography

Car Tune-Up Checklist for Arizona Drivers

How to Maintain Your Vehicle to Survive the Arizona Summer