Shock absorbers play a crucial role in your drive, on & off-road.
Shock absorbers do two essential jobs in your vehicle: They regulate the movement of springs and suspension, and they keep your tyres in contact with the road. Which means that when you purchase shock absorbers, high quality and correct suitability are essential.
Get down to basics about shock absorbers.
Given how crucial shock absorbers are, many drivers know little about them, so let's start at the beginning - how they work. As your suspension travels up and down, a piston inside the shock absorber drives hydraulic fluid which slows, or "dampens", spring and suspension movement.
And by their very design, shock absorbers automatically adjust to road conditions... because the faster the suspension moves, the more resistance the shock absorbers provide.
Top tips to keep your shocks in good shape!
The very first tip to keeping your shock absorbers in good shape is remembering you have them in the first place. You can tell a lot about what kind of shape they are in simply by listening to your vehicle and feeling how it drives... once you're in the habit of doing that, follow these top tips:
- Heaps of online feedback suggests driving your vehicle out to a safe, deserted spot or parking lot, then accelerating to 10 mph / 16 kms and hitting the brakes. If the front of your vehicle continues bobbling after stopping, this means your shocks are probably in need of attention.
- When parked safely, go on your hands and knees and review your ride-softening components. Should you spot dents in the shock tubes, leaking oil (a bit of oil film on bottom portion of the shocks is fine), then it's a fair bet you need new shock absorbers.
- Keep a close eye out for loose mounting bolts and worn mounting blushing (this may also cause a tapping noise when the vehicle is in motion. Shocks require a strong, solid mounting in order to function correctly, so it's wise to replace loose bolts and bushings.
- Always bear in mind that your shock absorbers are one piece in the puzzle of your vehicle's suspension, think outside the box when reviewing the condition of your shocks and look out for issues with associated components like ball joints and springs.
- Worn shocks interfere with comfort big time, but even more importantly a worn shock absorber will also:
- Harm suspension performance
- Reduce brake efficiency
- Negatively impact cornering ability
- Reduce antilock brake performance
Put simply, when your shocks start to wear, replace them fast!