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Currently have a 2014 MDX with 86,000 miles on it. I need to take it in for service but before I ask them, how do I know I need shocks? I feel like when I’m going over some bad and not so bad pot holes etc that the ride isn’t as smooth as it should be. It is a rough ride.

Is that a sign I need them? What else should I look for/ sense ? Ball park costs of replacement? Is it based on mileage or does a tech have too look at them to see? Live in NJ and yes we have salt/snow.
 

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The biggest issue you have is dealing with rust. You might have a combination of suspension issues that feel like your struts/shocks are going out (tie rods, control arm, endlinks, bushing, possible damage from potholes, etc...). I would find a trusted local shop that can inspect your suspension to make sure everything checks out. Then you can make a plan of attack to fix any issue they might find.

Shocks/struts do wear over time and there isn't a set time limit to fail because it depends on driving habits, driving environment, and luck. My Aspec suspension on my 06 TSX went +150,000 miles with zero issues; while, my OEM suspension on my 08 RDX was replaced at 100,000 miles (have +190,000 miles now). My 08 RDX was starting to feel like I was riding on my rims and I felt every bump in the road before I replaced my shocks/struts.
 
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