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5 car maintenance moves consumers put off

You're riding on worn shock absorbers
You're braking with worn brake pads © Tyler Olson/Shutterstock.com

According to Hafer, shock absorbers -- or just "shocks" -- perform a number of essential duties critical to the well-being of your car's suspension, as well as to how your car handles and rides.

In the areas of handling and comfort, shocks provide the fine-tuning element to your car's suspension, determining how your car corners while absorbing the bumps and potholes in a road's surface. A car's springs do the hard work, but it's up to the shocks to absorb and dissipate the energy produced by the springs.

Worn-out shocks put extra stress on all your car's suspension elements, causing them to wear faster.

The amount of work shocks must do and the rate at which they wear has everything to do with the condition of the roads on which you drive. Roads in colder climates tend to have more potholes, so shocks wear more quickly.

"If you drive in an area with better roads, you may never need to change your shocks," Hafer says. "But 50,000 miles is about the average." Replacing all four shocks at a shop will cost about $820.

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