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I was at NTB having my tires (purchased there) rotated and my alignment checked (3-yr warranty from them), when they said "Your car still has its original shocks and after 80K miles they really should be replaced."

Now I'm one of those people who don't know a whole lot about cars and could probably easily fall into a situation where my shocks aren't that good but that I wouldn't notice. But is is true that age would determine the need for replacement?

Patient in question: 2006 Saab 2.0T 9-3

Saab's never said a word about this when I've gone in for service, but my last visit there was about a year ago.
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The shock manufacturers have been marketing a 50,000 mile replacement interval as a best practice in the aftermarket repair industry for several years.

It is probably reasonable and based on some actual data, but the real reason is that other than being totally worn out, no one really notices the gradual decline in performance.

At their peak performance, shocks can improve handling and reduce stopping distances, so I would suggest that you would probably benefit from new shocks at 80k
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qycP-LZKX10

See the above video for a simple way to test your shocks. I have used this method (bounce test) for many years.

RG
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In my experience, it all depends on the car and shocks used. I've had Toyota shocks that were as good as new at 120k. I've had mazda and BMW shocks that wore out before 50k.

Bounce test doesn't work on the shocks that gradually go. The changes happen so gradually many don't notice how much handling has been lost.
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qycP-LZKX10

See the above video for a simple way to test your shocks. I have used this method (bounce test) for many years.

RG


We have a winner. Do a bounce test. If your car fails, you need your shock/struts replaced.

There is no hard and fast mileage requirement. Live in an area where the roads are cratered with potholes or do off-roading, your shocks/struts will wear faster. Drive the suburbia roads and you could literally go 200K miles with the same shock/struts.

However, as they wear the wear is very gradual. You really won't notice any play or slop in the suspension until it gets bad. As long as you don't have oil leaking or broken seals, as long as the car isn't "sagging" (sign of a blow strut/shock and/or collapsed spring) and you pass the bounce test. You're OK. If you're unhappy with handling or you're getting a lot of dive (the nose plunging down) when you hard brake, probably need replacement.
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...BMW shocks that wore out before 50k...

The last two previous Gen 3 series are infamous for this. If you have a BMW built since the 2000 plan on replacing the entire suspension by 100K miles. The amount of slop they get in them is pretty amazing.
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I am inclined to agree with ToddTruby on this one and to just go with the mileage. The bounce test can tell you when your shocks are very bad, not when they have weakened enough to impact safety. There is a point before your shocks will fail a bounce test where your stopping and cornering ability are reduced to a point where they could make a difference in an emergency stop or maneuver.
A 200lb mechanic leaning on your bumper is not making the same demand on your shocks as screeching to a stop around dead mans curve, while your shocks are trying to keep your tires stuck to the ground for traction over every pothole and uneven contour in the road.
Also if you are an aggressive driver then you demand a higher performance out of your shocks and should replace them before a more sedate driver might.

Hope that helps,
Steven
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Thanks to all for your replies & I'll be going the "bounce test" tomorrow to see how it goes.

The car's pretty much been on all good, paved roads so that probably has helped me out.

Is there a reputable national chain someone can recommend for doing the replacements? I have no idea what Saab will charge other than it'll probably be about 1.5X what anyone else does.
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Midas and Meineke replace shocks and struts. Whether or not they are reputable is another matter. ~ ~
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If you want to restore the ride and feel of your Saab your need to buy Saab shocks, or, shocks from Saab's shock supplier that are equal in quality to the ones originally installed and not something less...
expensive.

Best wishes,
Steven
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Re:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qycP-LZKX10

What's a vayhicle ?

~aj
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Given the car's age (2006) and the demise of Saab, I'm not sure I'm willing to pour a lot of money into it if in fact shocks are needed (seems not from what I can tell).
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I think OEM shocks are crap. 50K and they are shot, regardless of manufacturer. I'd replace them. Go to Sears, get the high quality Monroe struts and you're good to go.
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I think OEM shocks are crap. 50K and they are shot, regardless of manufacturer. I'd replace them. Go to Sears, get the high quality Monroe struts and you're good to go.


Monroe is the supplier for quite a few OEM shocks I am familiar with. Same shocks, different box often times.

Now Sears in general is NOT the place I would suggest anyone take their car to for even the most basic maintenance. I'm sure there are some competent and/or honest Sears shops out there, but not in my personal or professional experience.
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Now Sears in general is NOT the place I would suggest anyone take their car to for even the most basic maintenance. I'm sure there are some competent and/or honest Sears shops out there, but not in my personal or professional experience.

In general, I agree. Maybe I'm pretty naive, but I think Sears can put shocks (struts) on.

I was also thinking Monroe Gasadjust - I think that is the top of the line Monroe. To be sure, there are better products out there, but these are pretty good for the money.
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In general, I agree. Maybe I'm pretty naive, but I think Sears can put shocks (struts) on.



Perhaps they could, but why choose or suggest someone who is merely able to do the job and not someone who is competent and honest?

I can't tell you how many shocks I have found leaking out of the box direct from a parts store. Would an inexperienced mechanic at a shop with poor management even think to check or would they just install these shocks without recognizing the problem?
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I can't tell you how many shocks I have found leaking out of the box direct from a parts store

Any particular brand better than the others?
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Any particular brand better than the others?

Not that I recall. I just know it was not uncommon to return leaking shocks right out of the box, sometimes more than once on the same job.
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