Shock absorbers are oil pump devices that have a piston attached to the end of a piston rod working against hydraulic fluid in the pressure tube. Hydraulic fluid is pushed into tiny holes inside the piston when the suspension travels up and down. These tiny holes, or orifices, only allow a small amount of fluid through the piston which slows it down hence slowing down the spring and suspension movement.
What exactly do they do?
Most people believe that shock absorbers support the weight of the vehicle but they don’t. The shock absorbers’ main role is to control the movement of the spring and suspension. It also keeps the tyres in contact with the ground. If your wheels do not have good contact with the ground, it can affect your driving and the safety of the vehicle.
How do you know if it’s working properly?
Just like any other car part, shock absorbers need to be checked often. And there are some signs that could tell you whether or not they are working properly.
- Longer brake distances – If you notice that your vehicle needs a longer distance before you can fully stop, then you may need to check on your shock absorbers. Not being able to stop right away can cause serious accidents.
- Bouncing – Shock absorbers should reduce the rate of bouncing your vehicle. So if you notice that your car is very “bouncy” or it seems to be swaying more than usual, it can be a sign of worn-out shock absorbers.
- Vibrations – If you feel vibrations in the steering wheel especially at higher speeds.
- Uneven tyre wear – If your shock absorbers are all good, then your tyres should be balanced and can keep good contact with the road.
- Nosedives – Check those shocks if your vehicle starts to swerve or dip when braking.
- Oil stains – If you see some stains or discolouration on the shocks, it may mean that there is a leakage and it needs to be replaced.
- Poor cornering – Worn out shocks may make it difficult to turn or control the steering wheel.
There is no right amount of time or mileage that can dictate whether you need to replace your shock absorbers or not. But if you feel unusual movement, hear unusual noises or experience uncomfortable driving, then it’s always best to have a complete checkup of your vehicle.
If you have any questions about your car’s shock absorbers or if you think they need replacement, just give us a call or send us a message. Our friendly and professional staff are always ready and they won’t be too shocked by any of your questions. 😉
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Updated by Adele Goodwin on 17th November 2021