Hi, Hai, you need new shocks.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jan 01, 1991

Dear Tom and Ray:

I own a 1983 Nissan Maxima that has 58,000 miles and four original shock absorbers. Recently, I took the car to a tire shop to replace the two front tires which were badly and unevenly worn. The mechanic strongly suggested that I replace all four shocks due to the uneven wear on the tires. Should I replace the shocks?

TOM: Hi, Hai. It's very likely that you do need new shocks. If not all four, than at least two in front. Original equipment shocks rarely last 58,000 miles. And bad shocks CAN and WILL cause the tires to wear unevenly.

RAY: In fact, HOW the tire is wearing out can often tell you what's wrong with the car. If the tires are "cupped" (if they have scalloped edges), that generally means that the shocks are shot. When shocks go bad, the car bounces off the ground a lot more than it should. Each time it comes down and hits the ground, a little bit of the tire gets chewed up.

TOM: But if the tires are worn out on either the inside or outside edge, that suggests the car is out of alignment.

RAY: But it could be something more dangerous than shocks or alignment. A car this age could need ball joints, tie rod ends, a new air freshener, or any number of things. So take the bad front tires as a warning to have the entire front end checked out. If you're lucky, 500 dollars worth of shocks and tires are all you'll need.

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