Struts normally require replacement after 50,000 miles. Symptoms of worn struts include excessive sway when cornering, excessive bounciness when driving over dips in the road, and decreased stopping distance.
A bounce test can help determine whether struts require replacement. Bounce each corner of the car. If the car bounces more than two or three times, it may need new struts. A visual inspection can also reveal strut problems. Most struts are easy to see without removing the tires. Inspect the struts for torn dust bellows, leaking oil, and bent or damaged components. Inspect the springs and spring seats for corrosion, bent or collapsed springs, and torn rubber mounts and bushings.
Struts are vital for maximum performance, but car owners often neglect them. Worn struts can cause poor acceleration, substantially reduced braking distance, decreased performance when driving around corners, and poor ride quality. Observant driving can help detect strut problems. If the rear of the vehicle squats under acceleration, or the front end dives while stopping, the struts are bad. If the vehicle sways side to side while cornering or changing lanes, the struts are bad. Worn struts put more stress on other components of the vehicles suspension, and they can create dangerous driving situations.