Arrive Alive

Shock Absorbers and Safe Driving

Shock Absorbers

Shock Absorbers and Road Safety

What is a shock absorber?

To most people a shock absorber is an unseen component somewhere near the wheel and suspension which never needs to be checked or looked at as it always works and does not wear out or need replacing; and perhaps like tonsils in a human do not really need to be there…

This is unfortunately not true as a shock absorber (or damper as it should be called) keeps the tyre in contact with the road by “damping” out excessive spring movements and bounce. As we all know tyres need to keep in contact with the road surface in order for the driver to retain control of the vehicle – so without a fully functional shock to keep the tyre in contact with the road surface, no driver would be able to maintain control of a vehicle. As an added bonus a good shock gives drivers a more comfortable ride and reduces wear on tyres and other suspension components.

Essentially a shock absorber is a metal cylinder filled with a special hydraulic fluid, with a top and bottom mounting (to be attached to a vehicle and wheel), which has a piston rod and piston that runs inside a cylinder. The piston has special multi-stage valving built into it, that allows the fluid to move through at a predetermined rate, which in turn restricts excessive suspension and wheel movement. Most shock absorbers today have nitrogen gas injected into the cylinder to improve their reaction time and help to reduce heat build up and noise.

Heat is a shock’s worst enemy. Due to the fact that a shock is a mechanical part that changes movement into heat, this heat builds up quickly especially on poor road surfaces. With the heat build up and although the oil is specially formulated to withstand this heat, the oil can become less viscous, allowing it to travel through the valves easier and therefore cause the shock to lose its damping efficiency. This is referred to as fade. 

Over time and because of the continuous movement of components, this causes a shock to wear out and in some cases for oil seals to leak. As this process of decline is very slow, most drivers will not notice and will adapt their driving to compensate. Which is why it is essential to have your vehicles shocks checked every 20 000km, particularly once a vehicle has reached a mileage of over 70 000km. Do not assume shocks are checked when your car is taken in for a service as this seldom happens. Specify that they must be checked, or take your car into a specialist fast fitment centre and they will check them for you and in most cases, at no charge.


When do I need to change my shock absorbers? The 8 signs of worn shock absorbers:

 

Also visit the following sections:

 

Gabriel

Loading...

Search Road Safety Articles

Latest Pages

Eye Protection and Road Safety

Eye Protection and Road Safety

Introduction to the Eye Care and Road Safety Our eyes and eyesight are perhaps the most important of our senses on the road. Seeing is a highly active function. Our eyes continually move and adjust, receiving a constant flow of visual impressions. Normally, all this activity happens routinely and

Read More

Eye Diseases

Eye Diseases

Eye Diseases that affect Drivers For most people, driving represents freedom, control and independence. Driving enables us to get to the places we want to go to at our own convenience. More importantly, to many others, it represents a means of earning a living. Even though it seems so simple, driving

Read More

Eyesight and Safety on the Road

Eyesight and Safety on the Road

Why is good eyesight so important? Most of the information we use when driving comes to us through the eyes, like the road we are travelling on, road signs, pedestrians and other vehicles. Our eyes control most of our movements and decisions while driving. All drivers, especially you as a professional

Read More

Medicine / Medication and Road Safety

Medicine / Medication and Road Safety

Medication and the Effect Thereof One of the greatest sciences today is that of medicine and it doesn’t matter what season of the year, the body might need it to help cure the cause and symptoms of illness. During the winter months a lot of us head of to our pharmacist in order to buy medication

Read More

Cholesterol Medication And Road Safety

Cholesterol Medication And Road Safety

Cholesterol Medication and Road Safety Drivers are often unaware of the impact that medication might have on their ability to drive. It is important that we create more awareness on the side effects of medication and provide drivers with the necessary advice to protect them and other road users. Pharmaconnect

Read More

Road Safety and the Elderly / Older Road Users

Road Safety and the Elderly / Older Road Users

Background Road Safety Authorities and non-government organizations place much focus on road safety and the younger generation - but often neglect the older road users. The group of elderly road users is getting increasingly larger and our road safety strategies should pay more attention to the possibilities

Read More

Load More Pages

Partners

View All