Shock absorbers for a smooth driving experience
Shock absorbers in your vehicle do a great deal for your road safety. However, many of us still aren’t aware of their importance and how they work.
Shock absorbers, also known as “shocks” or “dampers,” are typically located between the wheels and the frame of a car, and are an essential part of the car’s suspension system.
They are fitted to the car’s wheels, with one shock absorber located on each corner of the car. In most cases, there will be one shock absorber at the top of the wheel and another at the bottom to control the movement of the suspension.
The top of the shock absorber is connected to the frame or body of the car, while the bottom is connected to the control arm or the steering knuckle. They are typically found on the front and rear of the car.
How do shock absorbers work?
Shock absorbers in cars work by converting the kinetic energy of suspension movement into thermal energy, which is then dissipated. They consist of a piston that rotates inside an oil- or gas-filled cylinder. The piston pushes and pulls the oil or gas through tiny holes in the suspension of the car, creating resistance and dampening the suspension’s up-and-down motion. This helps to keep the wheels of the car in contact with the road and improves the overall ride comfort and handling of the vehicle.
Additionally, shock absorbers also help to:
- Reduce the amount of vertical movement of the car’s body, which can help to improve the driver’s visibility and reduce fatigue.
- Minimize the bouncing of the car’s body after hitting a bump or pothole, which can help to improve the overall safety of the vehicle.
- Control the amount of body roll, which is the tendency of the car’s body to lean to one side when cornering.
- Improve the handling and braking performance of the vehicle by keeping the tires in contact with the road.
- Prolong the life of the car’s tires, suspension and other components by reducing the amount of stress and wear on them.
When should you replace shock absorbers?
Shock absorbers do not have a set expiration date. They can live significantly longer than the 50,000-mile standard. It depends on how much and under what conditions you drive. The following signs tell you it’s time to replace them:
Bumpy Ride :
The car rides will get bumpy when your shock absorbers are getting close to the end of their useful life. You will feel almost all flaws or irregularities in the road as it gets worse.
Poor Steering :
Shock absorbers keep your car’s balance and centre of gravity in place. When these wear out, you might experience your car swaying, dipping, or lifting when you make turns at various speeds and angles.
Uneven tire wear :
Your tires may start to get odd and uneven wear patterns over time as a result of the lack of balance in your car.
Oil leakage :
When your shock absorbers start to leak oil, this is a strong sign that you need new ones.
A more sensible approach is to have the shocks, struts, and suspension system checked by a professional at 50,000 miles and then annually after that to rule out the faulty parts.
Maintaining shock absorbers
Shock absorbers are a big part of your vehicle’s suspension system. So before any irreplaceable damage occurs to them, here’s what you can do to maintain your car’s shocks and struts.
Proper tire inflation :
This one is important since tyres play a crucial role in a suspension. Failure to do so will cause the tyres to age faster, which will have an impact on the shocks and struts as well as any other suspension parts. Additionally, get the wheels adjusted as needed and rotate the tyres frequently to aid with wear and tear.
Drive carefully :
Avoid carelessly driving over bumps or uneven terrain. Avoid the road if you can if it’s known for being rough on cars. You should not put your car through needless strain. This will increase the lifespan of your suspension system as well as the shock absorbers.
Reduce chances of corrosion :
Shocks and struts experience natural wear and tear, but they are also exposed to water, salt from the road, and other substances that can cause corrosion, accelerating the need for repair or replacement. Therefore, try to limit your exposure to these factors so that your car’s shock absorbers don’t deteriorate quickly.