Like the clutch or the brakes, shock absorbers are essential elements contributing to the vehicle’s safety.
Shock absorbers are essential to the car’s safety since they contribute to its excellent handling.
These shock absorbers press the wheels to the ground so that the vehicle’s tire sticks to the road, wherever it goes.
Signs of shock absorber wear
Shock absorbers are challenging to see and wear out gradually. The driver may not notice it right away and may become accustomed to the defects as the miles go by.
However, the safety of the driver and the longevity of other vehicle parts mustn’t prolong the life of shocks in poor condition.
Specific visual examinations can indicate a possible defect of these:
- oil leaks (in the shock absorbers)
- traces of corrosion;
- wrong symmetry between the axles.
Clues while driving
On the other hand, you must remain attentive to the behavior of your vehicle and detect sure warning signs:
- Vibrating steering wheel (the spring is working, but the shock absorber is not);
vehicle sensitive to side wind (the car may even sway under the effect of side wind);
- Difficulty in handling when changing direction, turning, driving over speed bumps, aquaplaning;
- difficulty in braking:
- either an increase in braking distance;
- or the vehicle tends to dive forward when braking;
- steering of the car, which becomes very imprecise;
- slamming noises on rough roads.
Shock absorber service frequency
It is best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and have your shock absorbers serviced every 20,000 km.
However, your type of driving and the characteristics of the roads you drive on can vary this figure.
Please note: a shock absorber at the end of its life wears out very quickly.
Professionals must check and verify shock absorbers, but what about replacement?
Shock absorbers are part of the components covered by the technical inspection.
What tests are required at the technical inspection?
During the technical control, the vehicle is inspected only visually.
Only cases of oil leaks, traces of corrosion, or cracks lead to a second inspection.
The symmetry of the axles is not checked; their “significant deterioration” does not lead to a second inspection.
On the other hand, a garage must put your vehicle on a test bench before changing them.
Tip: Have your shock absorbers checked regularly.
Changing your shock absorbers
Front and rear shock absorbers should be changed in pairs to avoid any imbalance in the car.
Before removing a shock absorber, the vehicle must be raised because the shock absorber is compressed when the car is stopped; it must be completely relaxed for the operation to be possible.
To perform this operation, you will need:
- a hex wrench;
- either a screw spring compressor or a professional crank compressor, suitable for intensive use but much more expensive.
Price of checking and changing shock absorbers
If the verification can sometimes be free, the price of changing a pair of shock absorbers represents a more considerable sum of money.
The price is all the higher since it is recommended :
to replace the shock absorber cups at the same time;
to have the front axle aligned.
Don’t delay the repairs!
However, postponing this change is not a good idea since it will cause damage to other parts of the vehicle.
The price is proportional to the size of the car and the prices offered by the professional, whether it is a manufacturer, an auto center, or a car repairer.
It is best to compare what is offered on the internet and what the different parties offer.