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

Road Safety Tips for the Festive Season from ArriveAlive.co.za

Road Safety Tips for the Festive Season from ArriveAlive.co.za

Obey the rules of the road and carry your driver’s license with you. Plan the route to your holiday destination and allow yourself enough time to reach the destination Make sure that your vehicle is in a roadworthy condition before departure. All lights and indicators, windscreens, windscreen

Read More

Texting and Distracted Driving

Texting and Distracted Driving

Introduction and Background Distracted driving is described as an epidemic sweeping our roads. This topic is receiving much attention internationally and we would like to discuss in this section of the Arrive Alive website the global impact and the risks of texting and driving! It has been revealed

Read More

The Basic Steering and Suspension Layouts

The Basic Steering and Suspension Layouts

Steering Rack / Rack & Pinion The Steering Rack is the assembly in a vehicle which turns the vehicle’s wheels from side to side in response to when the driver turns the steering wheel. The Steering Rack is what helps you steer when you drive. Common Rack & Pinion Steering Problems: Very

Read More

Child Restraints and Road Safety

Child Restraints and Road Safety

Introduction to Child Restraints and Road Safety Increasing motorization worldwide has brought more crashes and injuries to vehicle occupants, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. One of the most effective measures to protect occupants from injury in the event of a crash is the fitment

Read More

Car Seats for Children and Road Safety in South Africa

Car Seats for Children and Road Safety in South Africa

Introduction: New legislation in South Africa is addressing a void which has for a number of years frustrated all those so deeply concerned with the safety of our children on the roads. The void referred to was specifically with regards to child passengers [infants] younger than 3 years old. Although

Read More

Child Safety and the Child Passenger

Child Safety and the Child Passenger

Road Safety and the Child Passenger Many people have over the past year raised their concerns on child safety and they have requested information on the use of child seats. The development team has found that extensive research has been done in the United States on child seats and that it might be

Read More

Load More Pages

Partners

View All