Aside from helping you maintain control of your vehicle and provide a smooth and comfortable ride, shock absorbers help keep a car’s tyres in contact with the road. The suspension system absorbs sudden shocks and dampens shock vibrations. That’s a lot of work for any component to deal with.
As with any car part, it’s normal for shocks to wear as the kilometres add up. However, especially rough terrain and too many potholes and speed bumps will increase the wear and tear more quickly. But guess what also gets worn out quickly along with it? Your vehicle’s tyres.
Effects of worn shocks on tyre tread
If a component in your car’s suspension system is worn, misaligned or loose, this can cause the wheel to wear unevenly. While worn shocks are not the only cause of cupping, the excessive movement of tyres can result in a ‘cupping’ or ‘scalloping’ wear pattern. This uneven tyre wear appears as hollowed out areas almost like hills and valleys on the tyre tread. These hills and valleys mean that there is inconsistent contact with the road.
If left to worsen cupping can become increasingly dangerous as it poses a high risk of the vehicle losing control in emergency situations. If you experience this symptom please have it seen to as soon as possible.
2. Feathering or toe-wear
The ‘feathered’ tread blocks on a tyre is usually caused by misalignment of the wheel, but if the alignment is correct then a possible cause is due to a worn or damaged suspension.
The tread ribs wear smoother on one side and sharper on the other and can be seen as the teeth of a saw. It’s called a feathered edge for a similar reason where one side starts higher and sharper and ends off lower and smoother.
3. Bald spots and excessively worn tyres
A car’s suspension that moves out of its proper position may cause the wheels to misalign, which in turn wears out the outer edge of the front tyres’ tread.
Shocks that have worn out causes tyre bounce which in turn creates bald spots on a tyre.
Signs your shocks are wearing
Tyre wear and tear is a problem, but most drivers are unaware that worn shocks can also lead to loss of vehicle control, especially around corners. The tricky part about shocks is that they wear out over time and it’s not always noticeable – making it difficult to determine when they need replacing. These signs should help to alert you:
- Shaking and rattling
- Excessive veering with side winds
- Swerving or dipping when braking or accelerating
- Steering wheel vibration
- Excessive bouncing over bumps or potholes
- Longer stopping distance
- Leaking hydraulic fluid
- Declining handling, stability, and responsiveness
- Less ride comfort
- Leans excessively around corners
- Uneven tyre wear
- Excessive tyre wear
Read more about the causes and symptoms of worn shocks.
Tyres with uneven tread wear are no longer able to roll smoothly along a road surface, which, in turn, causes a bouncing action.
As we can see, while they are not the only culprit, in many instances worn shocks play a major role in reducing a tyre’s lifespan. If your car feels bouncy on the road it’s a good time to check your shocks – they just might be the cause of those uncomfortable vehicle symptoms you’re experiencing.
Disclaimer: This information is for educational or informational purposes only. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability, and accuracy of this information. The views expressed in this article are the views of the author and not necessarily the views of Supa Quick.