A shock absorber on an automobile does one thing and one thing only, keeps the car from bouncing. Struts are considerably different. Struts are a structural part of the suspension system and are mounted to the chassis of the vehicle on the top, and they come down through. They give us a place to mount the coil spring, and the spring is what maintains the height of the vehicle, so we have a plate in here for the spring. It also replaces the upper control arm and it connects directly to the knuckle on the car, which in many cases gives us a minor ability to adjust alignment.
How do shocks work? Shock absorbers slow down and reduce the magnitude of vibratory motions by turning the kinetic energy of suspension movement into heat energy that can be dissipated through hydraulic fluid. Orifices perforate the piston and allow fluid to leak through as the piston moves up and down in the pressure tube.
Having worn shock absorbers on your vehicle can increase your stopping distance by up to 20%. As you increase your travelling speed this will also increase the distance it takes your vehicle to completely stop. This 20% extra distance can be enough to cause a fatal incident and should be attended to as soon as possible.
Does your car dip or swerve under braking? If so you need to have your shock absorbers checked. If you do dip or swerve under braking it decrease your control over the car which can be very dangerous in wet weather.
Are you getting vibrations through the steering wheel as you’re driving along? If your shocks are working properly they should keep your tyres in optimal contact with the road and there shouldn’t be any vibrations. If this problem occurs you need to be cautious, at high speeds the vibrations can be more intense and decreasing overall control of the vehicle.
Do you have to correct car sliding or veering across the road in mild winds? This is a tell-tale sign of worn shocks and can be easily fixed with a shock replacement.
If your vehicle rattles and rocks over bumps, railway tracks and uneven surfaces it is highly likely your shocks are heavily worn. Along with an unpleasant ride this rocking and rolling can be putting unwanted pressure on other car components and should be seen to as soon as possible.
Can you see bald patches or uneven wear on your tyres? This usually means your tyres don’t have optimal contact with the road, which can be caused by worn shocks. This will have an effect on car control and tyre grip and both should be checked and replaced.
Related Tags: Clutch & Brake Specialists