Shocks (and struts) are safety-critical components. Because they generally wear out gradually over time, the negative effects on safety and performance are not easily noticeable. How long they last depends on a number of factors, such as vehicle load, road and environmental conditions, as well as your driving style.
What are shock absorbers for?
In a nutshell, shock absorbers keep unwanted motion of a vehicle under control. The springs function as a cushion between the axles and the body of a vehicle, reducing vibration and shock from rough road surfaces. This can otherwise cause damage to the underside of your vehicle.
Your car’s shocks provides a smooth ride and allows you to steer the vehicle with proper control.
What happens when shock absorbers are worn?
Shocks that begin to wear can eventually cause:
- Uneven tyre wear
- Loss of handling and control especially around turns and corners
- A reduction in its road-holding force and ability to absorb road impacts, making the car bounce excessively
- An increase in your car’s stopping distance
- A negative effect on steering, braking, and suspension components
How do I know if I need to replace my shock absorbers?
Look out for any of these symptoms:
- Rough and bumpy ride – Excessive bouncing when you hit a bump
- Difficulty steering – Stiff or hard to turn steering wheel
- Abnormal steering vibration – When your steering wheel vibrates on smooth roads
- Handling control – Rolling, swaying, or leaning action when corning or caught in a cross wind
- Nose diving – Lurching forward when braking
- Uneven tyre wear – Pieces of rubber are gauged out of the tyre causing scalloped dips or cupping
- Clunking sounds – Caused when the shock bottoms out when hitting a bump
- Leaking fluid – Hydraulic fluid on the exterior of your shocks due to a worn seal
- Braking inefficiency – When tyres are not in firm contact with the ground, a longer braking distance is required before the car comes to a stop
- Dangerous in wet conditions – Increased risk of skidding in the wet and aquaplaning
How to check your shocks for corrosion and leakage
Any other component from your car’s suspension system could be a potential culprit causing any of the above symptoms. If you want to check if your shock absorbers could be the problem, try the following:
- Check the strut mounting. Shove the car, if there is movement or noise coming from the mounting, that’s a sign of trouble.
- Check the housing. Is there any excess oil or notable corrosion?
- Look for any dents, rust, or other damage on the shock absorber.
You’re a motorist who wants to stay in control when you’re behind the wheel. All of the time. A good set of shocks will help you do that. To keep your ride safe and smooth, visit Supa Quick for a complete suspension system checkup.
Disclaimer: This information is for educational, or entertainment purposes only. It must not be construed as advice, legal, financial, or otherwise. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability, and accuracy of this information.