The struts on the front of your car are part of an interlocking system of front-end suspension components. Diagnosing bad struts can present frustration because what may seem to be a bad strut could be a problem with the steering system and vice versa. However, there are a few quick troubleshooting steps you can take to help diagnose a bad strut.1
Push down hard on the front bumper and then let go. If the car bounces up and down, more than twice it is possible that the struts are defective. This is called the “bounce test.”
Press on the accelerator from a dead stop. Does the front-end raise up excessively and does the rear-end squat down to the ground excessively. This is an indicator that the gas leaked out of the shocks and they are defective. This is referred to as the “squat test.”
Drive the car and listen for any unusual noises coming from the front end when you hit bumps. For example, a pounding noise followed by a jolt to the steering wheel could indicate the struts bottomed out when you hit a bump. This also indicates the struts leaked out the gas stored inside.