Signs of bad shock absorbers

26 February 2019 / Lindleys Autocentres

Although suspensions are designed to take a lot of rough-terrain without facing major damages, they are not susceptible to component wear and tear. Unfortunately, for those of you who live in areas with rougher road conditions, there is an increased rate of deterioration.

Typically, the majority of vehicle owners are unaware that their shock absorbers are in need of a replacement when they become worn out. This is why, in this article, show you the main symptoms of worn out shock absorbers.

Nose-diving whilst braking

If you notice your vehicle dips forward as you brake, we strongly urge you to get your car seen by a car garage as soon as you can. Not only is this dangerous, but this could also be the result of a failing shock absorber or other faults within your suspension system. 

Increased stopping distances

If your vehicle takes longer to stop when you press down on your brakes, this too is an indication of worn shocks. Failing to act accordingly by visiting one of your local garages and having your shock absorbers replaced or repaired,  you are essentially becoming a danger to yourself and other road users.

Fluid leaks

Depending on the type of shock absorber you have, through wear and tear, the shocks sealants can break and the fluid inside can leak out. If and when this occurs, the loss of fluid will decrease the performance of the shock absorber and decrease its functionality.

Suspension & steering vibrations

When your rubber bushings become worn it can lead to your suspension vibrating and put unnecessary stress on the other components in your suspension. A good way to look out for this is to see if your steering wheel vibrates as you drive over rough roads. If it continues to vibrate when you enter onto smooth terrain, there is a high possibility it is due to your shocks.

Uneven tyre wear

In order for you to maintain control of your vehicle, your shock absorbers work hard alongside your suspension to keep your tyres in contact with the road. Therefore, if you are experiencing uneven tyre wear, it can indicate that your shocks are worn.

How to test for bad shock absorbers

Luckily, slightly worn shock absorbers don't necessarily mean that you are unable to drive your vehicle. It simply means that driving on rougher road surfaces will be more challenging.

As your shock absorbers help reduce the amount of “bounce”, a good test to see whether your shock absorbers are worn out is through the bounce test. Typically this test is used to test your suspension overall, however, it will give a good indication on whether you have bad shock absorbers.

To carry out this test, park up your vehicle and push your body weight down at the front end of the vehicle a couple of times. When you release this pressure and notice your car continues to bounce up and down more than 3 times, there is a high possibility your shock absorbers need to be replaced.

Can you prevent wear and tear of shock absorbers?

Driving on smoother road conditions will help preserve the health of your shocks or struts. If you live in an area with a lot of potholes and bumpy roads, the way you drive your vehicle will determine the longevity of your shocks.  Tailor your driving to match your surroundings to help maintain the longevity of your shock absorbers and suspension system.

If you can, try to avoid frequently carrying heavy loads as the weight of your vehicle can increase the amount of wear on your shocks.

It is best to have your shock absorbers and suspension checked initially at 50,000 then yearly after that to ensure there are no damages or fluid leaks. However, if you currently have failed or worn shock absorbers, you will want to get them checked out and replaced as soon as possible. To do this, you can either visit your local garage or book an online appointment today. If you have any further enquiries, please feel free to contact us.

 

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