Suspension and Shock Absorbers

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For Suspension and shock absorbers in Hoyland come to Challenger Tyres & Exhausts!

Many people think: “the car will also run without shock absorbers, so they will not be that important”. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are just about the most critical parts of the suspension and important for the safe handling of your car. In short, they are indispensable for your safety. Neglecting can, therefore, have serious consequences.

Good shock absorbers – Indispensable!

Did you know that…

... one in four cars drive around with worn suspension and shock absorbers?

... good shock absorbers have more influence on the road holding of your car than for example winter tyres

... a shock absorber goes up and down between 5,000 and 7,000 times during a one-mile drive

... shock absorbers last about 112,000 miles (depending on your driving style)

... shock absorbers should always be replaced per set to keep the car in balance

... leaking shock absorbers could be a reason to fail your vehicle’s MOT test

To better understand why shock absorbers are so important, we must first understand what they do and how they work. They are important parts of the suspension of your car. They are located in the chassis, near the wheels. Their purpose is to absorb shocks caused by the unevenness of the road surface. The up and down movement of your vehicle while driving is dampened. This prevents your car from bouncing across the road.

With properly functioning shock absorbers the springs in the suspension will be compressed much less than it would be the case without. They make sure that the car does not go up and down for a long time if you drive on a rough road. Worn or defective shock absorbers can lead to unpleasant or unpredictable driving behaviour.

Often the shock absorber is combined with the coil spring. We then speak of a strut or Mac Pherson paw. The spring legs also have the task of guiding the wheels of the car. They are also part of the wheel suspension, which makes them at least as important.

Every shock absorber consists of a so called piston which moves downwards in a cylinder. A valve on the piston-head and at the cylinder base let hydraulic fluid flow through the shock absorbers while it moves. If the compression takes place more quickly and the liquid cannot flow through the cylinder quickly enough, the pressure is generated on both sides of the piston head. This creates extra resistance during the movement of the piston. In this way, the bouncing of the wheels is absorbed.

The firmness of the shock absorber is determined by the size of the opening in the valve. While harder shock absorbers ensure that your car is a bit firmer on the road, they can improve the driving behaviour.

What types are there?

Just like so many other car parts, the shock absorbers of your car are in constant use during driving. About 100 million shock absorbers are distributed worldwide each year. They are produced mainly in the US and a number of European countries.

What kind of shock absorbers are actually in your car? And does it matter what type your car drives with? To answer this question properly, we first examine which different types there are and how they work.

Basic Twin-Tube dampers

Basic twin-tube dampers, as the name implies, are used in all standard vehicles.They consist of two tubes pushed into each other: the reservoir and the working cylinder. Both cylindrical tubes contain hydraulic fluid. The piston moves the oil back and forth through a calibrated opening. As a result, vibrations are absorbed, and the tyres of your vehicle remain on the ground while driving. This improves driving behaviour and control of your vehicle.

Triple-Tube dampers

Triple-tube dampers improve the handling and control of your car. They reduce vibrations. These shock absorbers have a computer-controlled valve that controls the flow of oil or the flow of the hydraulic fluid from the inner tube to the second tube and from there to the reservoir. This gives you the opportunity to adjust the swell and compression of your vehicle to your driving style. Triple-tube dampers are used in race cars and many other vehicles such as Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, Ford and Audi.

Gas filled shock absorbers

Gas-filled shock absorbers are available in 2 versions: with a single tube or with two tubes. In these tubes, in addition to the hydraulic fluid, nitrogen is also under a certain pressure.

As a result, vibrations are absorbed better, driving behaviour and control over your vehicle improves. The gas-filled variant is a big improvement compared to the traditional oil and hydraulic fluid dampers. This is because no problems such as foaming or aeration occur.

Other species

Other types of dampers include shock absorbers for absorbing heavy shocks. As you already expect, these are used in trucks. Furthermore, there are air shock absorbers used in cargo trucks. There are also positively sensitive damping systems, acceleration-sensitive damping systems, shock absorbers for overloading and much more.

When should you replace your shock absorbers or struts?

The safest thing would be to have the shock absor.bers and struts of your car tested annually by our Challenger Tyres & Exhausts team.

How do I recognise worn shock absorbers?

What are striking symptoms that you can recognise worn shock absorbers and struts? We have put them together for you:

  • The car springs after a few presses a number of times.
  • Your car "dives down" when you brake.
  • Your car carries along with crosswind at high speeds.
  • If you are driving on a roundabout, you will tilt your car too far.
  • The suspension of your car feels stiff or very light.
  • The driving behaviour of your car is difficult to control.
  • There is oil on them.

A sign of damage or wear that you do not feel while driving is leaking. Shock absorbers can be filled with oil or gas. If gas or oil comes out, it means that they are damaged. If they leak oil, they look wet and dirty. Sometimes, if the leakage is large, you will see the oil trickle down, creating an oil slick on the ground. Shock absorbers or struts that are leaking or worn should be replaced as soon as possible.

Worn suspension and shock absorbers are dangerous.

  • your braking distance will be longer
  • your car has a higher risk of aquaplaning
  • the risk of skidding in curves is greater
  • there may be extra wear on the tires of your car
  • other control parts can also show more wear
  • the driving comfort for the occupants decreases which can be quite tiring

Driving with worn shock absorbers is therefore not only uncomfortable. In addition to a less well-controllable car, other parts can also get more wear than necessary. That you can at a certain moment not only endanger yourself but also the occupants of your car and other road users, we certainly do not have to emphasise here.

Conclusion

The suspension and the shock absorbers seem to play a less important role compared to other car parts. After all, your car will still drive with bad or even without shock absorbers. But do not make a mistake here. The suspension, shock absorbers and struts of your car not only ensure that your car does not "bounce" over the road. They also provide better control over your car, better driving behaviour and more road safety.


*Please note, for all our vehicle- and tyre services we also cover the following areas: Tankersley, Birdwell, Worsbrough, Blacker Hill, Jump, Hemingfield, Wombwell, Brampton, Elsecar, Brampton, Bierlow, Hood Hill.