KYB, one of the world's largest manufacturers of shock absorbers, state the basic function of a shock absorber - to keep the vehicle's tyres in contact with the road.
Worn out shock absorbers may cause the following:
- Reduced braking efficiency
- Less control on cornering or in windy conditions
- Increased risk of skidding in wet conditions
- Quicker wear on tyres and other suspension components
- Driver fatigue and reduced driver’s responses
- Last but not least, uncomfortable ride
In summary, a shock absorber is designed to take or absorb all the unpleasant effects of a bumpy road. This allows the driver to have control over the vehicle, and ensures passengers have a comfortable ride.
The better the suspension of the vehicle = the better steering control and handling of the vehicle.
Tell tale signs of worn out shock absorbers:
- the 'bounce test' - the vehicle oscillates more than once after downward pressure is applied to the bonnet of the car
- load shift when cornering
- poorer handling on uneven road surfaces
How often should shock absorbers be checked?
Shock absorbers should be checked by a qualified mechanic annually or every 20,000km, ensuring the safety of the driver, their passengers and other motorists. If shocks do need replacing, it's very important to replace them in pairs, to give an even balance on both sides of the vehicle.