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I recently purchased a 2005 Volvo S60.

The car runs great, but I've discovered that the suspension feels a bit stiff. When I go over a bump, I get shaken up a lot more than I do going over bumps in other vehicles I have driven.

I would like to improve the Volvo's suspension to provide a smoother ride.

To that end, I called a local shop and asked about replacing the shocks/structs. I was quoted $1400 for parts and labor.

Assuming that I'm willing to take my car up on jackstands and get my hands dirty, should I have to replace shocks/struts to get a smoother ride? Is there anything else I can do?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You have a couple of simultaneous questions going on here:

You have an older / non-new car. Should you have to replace the shocks?

Shocks wear out over time and mileage. I'm going to be replacing the wife's shocks this weekend (assuming they arrive on schedule). The existing shocks have at least 50K miles on them so they're at the end of their expected life.

Will replacing shocks give you a smoother ride?

This seems unlikely. Worn shocks generally underdamp the spring rate of the suspension rather than overdamp it. This means that the generally expected symptom of worn shocks is a wallowing suspension that continues to bounce after a bump.

My suggestion is that you look critically at the tires on the car. Tires are an undamped spring in the whole suspension equation so, if they're harsh or aggressive, there's nothing your shocks can do about them.

For example, try visiting a site like Tire Rack and searching for Grand Touring tires. You might find that the ride is more to your taste.

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What model of shocks/struts are on there now. Stuff marketed as comfort or similar will be softer than ones marketed as sport or handling. This could also be the springs. Is everything stock?

You will need to get a compressor for the springs that are on the struts. Be very careful, as a loaded spring carries a huge amount of force.

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