Suspension and Shock Absorbers

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What is the role of the Shock Absorber?

Shock absorbers carry the entire weight of the vehicle and at the same time compensate for bumps caused by unevenness on the road. They effectively slow down the vibrations that result from the car suspension and mass - and are therefore in continuous use. This continuous load can lead to wearing of the shock absorbers.

A defective shock absorber can pose a safety risk.

To ensure driving comfort and safety at all times, motorists should check and replace the shock absorbers regularly.

What is a shock absorber for?

Shock absorbers together with the spring are the connecting part between the body and the suspension. Damper and springs work together to absorb shocks. While the springs of the chassis compress the vehicle to unevenness, shock absorbers compensate for the resulting vibrations.

How shock absorbers work

Shock absorbers consist of a piston and a cylinder containing hydraulic oil. During oscillations of the piston, this oil is forced through narrow openings, whereby the intensity of the vibrations decreases.

If the dampers are faulty, the front part of the vehicle dip when braking and swings significantly. This can severely affect the functions of modern systems like ABS (Anti-lock Braking System). In addition, there is the increased risk of aquaplaning and the car will react increasingly to crosswinds.

When should I change the Shock Absorbers?

Generally, you will be unaware that there is a problem because you get used to the increasingly poorer handling. The following are indications that your shock absorbers may be failing:

  • The vehicle swings after hitting a bump
  • Even at low speed, you can hear knocking sounds when driving on poor roads
  • The tyres show uneven wear
  • The steering wheel flutters
  • The handling is spongy

When discovering a fault, you should always have both shock absorbers on the respective axle changed - regardless of whether it is the shock absorbers front or rear. A new shock absorber is always more powerful than a used one. If dampers with different power were mounted on the left and right of the axle, this could result in unstable driving behaviour.

Incorrect installation can also damage the shock absorbers.

To avoid incorrect installation, it is recommended to have the shock absorbers changed by a specialist, contact our team at Auto Surefit Motoring Centre, Wolverhampton for advice.