The job of a shock absorber is to do exactly what its name describes. It absorbs the shocks as the vehicle runs over potholes and rocky hills to make the ride more comfortable for the driver and passengers. More importantly, shock absorbers react to the vehicle’s speed and keep the driver from losing control around severe curves. They also lengthen the working life of the vehicle’s tires.
Description of a Shock Absorber
A shock absorber is a cylinder-shaped tube. One end is attached to the axle of the vehicle while the other end is attached to the frame. There is a shock absorber for each tire. The interior of the shock absorber contains a piston and an oil-filled tube with a reservoir, seals, and valves.
When the vehicle hits a bump in the road, the tire oscillates. These oscillations are transferred to the spring attached to it. The shock absorber allows the spring to compress, but it slows down the spring’s stretching by converting its kinetic energy into heat energy, which is absorbed by the oil in the tube. This results in a smoother ride.
When to Replace Shock Absorbers
A driver should consider checking their shock absorbers when they start losing the kind of control they used to have when navigating sharp curves at high speeds or driving over bumps. Although, a safer way a driver can check if the shocks need replacing is to put their weight on the vehicle’s fenders and then take their weight off suddenly. It should take its time regaining its normal position and should not bob up and down for a long time.
Another way to safely test the shock absorbers is to drive the vehicle in an open area, stopping suddenly. Again, it should not bounce up and down. If it does, the shock absorbers are probably not functioning the way they should. A noisy steering wheel that is slow to respond and tires that have uneven wear are also signs of deteriorating shock absorbers.
A driver shouldn’t hesitate to replace a vehicle’s shock absorbers. Driving with poorly functioning shocks can wear down the brakes and can even make changing lanes on a highway dangerous. New shocks should last around 50,000 miles depending on how often the vehicle is driven and the type of terrain it is driven on.
Shock absorbers are not one size fits all. The type you should get for your vehicle depends on its make, model, and year. Contact EZ Wheeler for more information.