If the car’s shocks or struts have worn out, they should be checked and, if necessary, replaced, as they are critical components of the vehicle’s suspension.
The job of the vehicle’s suspension is to cushion the rider from the irregularities of the road. Even in poor road conditions, robust shock-and-strut systems ensure good grip and effective stopping power by preventing the wheels from losing contact with the tread. To put it another way, these pieces are crucial to traffic safety.
The struts or shocks adjust the suspension’s oscillation size by correcting for the extra energy transmitted by the springs or wheels and stabilizing each wheel on the tread surface by absorbing shocks induced by road bumps. By preventing vibrations from reaching the body, these suspension elements reduce road noise and improve passenger comfort.
Poor steering control, lack of maneuverability, and longer stopping distances are all consequences of worn shocks and springs. Premature wear of tires and other equipment is another side effect of worn shocks, which causes the vehicle to lean sharply forward when braking or backward when accelerating. As they’re worn, you’ll notice a difference in how you turn.
Symptoms of bad or worn shocks and struts
For as long as the car is operating, the vehicle’s shocks and struts are necessary and will eventually wear out.
The amount of miles driven, the road’s profile, the car’s weight, the tire pressure, and the tires’ level of wear all factor into how much wear and tear they receive, as does the driver’s manner of driving.
Vehicle instability, especially in turns, can be caused by shocks and struts malfunctions.
Wear on the shocks and struts can be seen reasonably simply in the beginning stages of the inspection process.
Their neighborhood is plagued by mechanical noises. When accelerating, the car’s wheels lose grip, causing the vehicle to slide sideways or feel like it floats.
In addition, excessive tire wear and even oil leakage might occur on the body of a shock or strut as a result of these issues.
On a wet road, there is an increased risk of aquaplaning, as well as an increase in braking distance and a decrease in the service life of the tires.
Driving with worn or damaged shocks and struts might lead to the following problems:
1. Low comfort
When driving on a rough road, the helical springs and shock absorbers help to smooth out the bumps and shocks while keeping the wheels firmly on the ground. Instead of immediately allowing the body to swing freely on the springs, worn shocks allow the wheel to leap immediately following an impact. This causes a bumpy ride, a lot of noise, and a lot of wear on the suspension.
2. Maneuverability and low stability when avoiding obstacles
We can see how two similar vehicles perform in a milestone test, one with fresh shocks and struts and the other with the same parts but 50% wear.
With new shocks or struts, the driver can maintain a straight line, but if they don’t keep up with their steering, the car can veer off course, resulting in a “boat-like” vehicle.
3. Increased braking distance
Breaking distance might rise by up to five meters when shocks or struts are worn out. Here’s a video that proves that.
Wear and tear on shocks and struts results in a loss of traction while braking suddenly, causing the wheel to continually lift a few millimeters off the ground.
4. Low stability in tight corners
Tight bends or freeway exits.
If we drive with the old shocks, we could be in danger. To demonstrate how worn shock absorbers and struts lead to instability, we’ve included a video below. As you can see, the wheels start pulling on the wheel and skidding is possible.
5. Low stability in windy conditions
A high-speed vehicle, such as a truck, can deflect the automobile or even knock it off the road if the shocks don’t perform to their full capability in heavy wind or when we pass it. For this reason, it is considerably easier for a vehicle with worn struts to steer in the other direction than one with new ones.
6. A bad lighting of the road at night
Shock absorbers that are too weak might create a dangerous situation for both the driver and other traffic participants at night since the headlights’ arc changes constantly in response to small road imperfections.
How to check the shocks and struts
It is recommended that the body of the automobile be pressed periodically in the area of the shocks in order to check the functioning status of the suspension system alone. The shocks or springs may have been compromised if, after completing this process, the vehicle shows an excessive and rapid inclination to one side.
While driving, pay attention to the car’s squeaks and rattles. Loud noises when driving or shocks while running on uneven surfaces are two other signs to watch for. Comparing the suspensions on the same axle, you’ll notice a change in the vehicle’s height (inclination). You’ll need to replace the shocks or struts to fix this.
An adhesion test on the stand can be used to assess the shocks’ condition. During the swing of the platforms on which the wheels are mounted, the weight carried by each wheel on the two axles is measured.
Between 12 and 18 Hz, the oscillation frequency of the stand platforms is used to determine the stickiness. This method of evaluating the shocks is also employed in the car’s technical examination.
It takes no more than five minutes to complete the exam, and the results reveal their precise health status. The screen-displayed test results for each wheel and deck show the oscillations’ minimal weight in relation to the wheel’s static weight.
The better an automobile is on the road, the greater its measured grip value on the stand. The following are examples of the measured values:
A high percentage of adhesion, above 60%
Between 20% and 60% adhesion is acceptable.
Adhesion values of less than 20%.
Tolerable wheel-to-wheel variations in grip pressure are those that are less than 15%; however, any variation in grip pressure that is greater than 15% suggests that the shocks and struts on one of the wheels may be worn out.
The worn shocks must be replaced if adhesion is less than 20% (weak) or if the difference between the two wheels on the same axle is greater than 15%.
It’s best to replace both sets of shocks on the same deck if one fails due to wear, as the other pair is likely to be worn to the same extent.
Replacement of a single shock results in an imbalance between the two shocks, which causes the new one to wear out more quickly than the old one would have. Remember that by utilizing worn shocks, springs lose a significant amount of their elasticity.
How many miles do shocks and struts last?
The suspensions usually change to a certain number of kilometers indicated in the car’s book, usually around 60, 000 kilometers (37300 miles), or every 5 6 years, and then every 20, 000 km (12400 miles) again because worn or defective shocks increase the risk accidents, but the replacement must be done much faster if the roads on which the car was operated have many bumps and potholes.