(NUI) - Watching new car television advertising might lead one to think a vehicle's appeal is based largely on its ability to negotiate hairpin turns or climb to a mountain's summit.
It's not enough for a car simply to look good, it has to ride well and hug the road. And most of them do, at least for a while. But nothing lasts forever, including the components that affect safe handling.
So, if these commercials make you long for the days when your car was young and agile, you can do something about it (short of buying a new one).
It's a procedure described by the Car Care Council as "restoring the vehicle's ride control" and it involves inspection and servicing or replacing of worn parts in the steering and suspension system.
Frequently neglected components of this system are the shock absorbers or struts, which play a major role in the vehicle's handling characteristics. When worn, they allow a car to roll or sway on turns, bounce or slide on rough and winding roads, and bottom out on bumps. In addition, failure to replace worn shocks and struts can result in rapid wear of tires, ball joints and springs.
Unlike a noisy muffler, screeching brakes or chattering windshield wipers, worn shock absorbers or struts suffer in silence, says the Council. Out of sight and generally out of mind, their deterioration is so gradual it may not be noticed until the vehicle becomes hard to handle.
That condition may not come to the owner's attention until a driving emergency arises. For this reason, shocks and/or struts should be inspected whenever the vehicle is in for service. Beyond that, the owner should be aware of signs and symptoms of worn ride control parts.
To provide this information, the Council offers a free pamphlet. Send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to the Car Care Council, Dept. RC, One Grande Lake Drive, Port Clinton, OH 43452.