5 Symptoms Of A Bad Shock Absorber

A shock absorber does the job of keeping the tires on the ground on a bumpy road, helping the driver to have control of the vehicle. As it’s always in use, it wears out quickly and loses the ability to function properly. There are some symptoms of a bad shock absorber to which you need to pay attention because bad shocks can make your rides super uncomfortable.

What Do Shock Absorbers Do In Your Car?

The change in direction of the vehicle during movement combined with the rarely flat road surface causes the wheels to fluctuate due to these impacts, thereby affecting the vehicle’s body and passengers. Although the spring can reduce the impact force, the shocks from the road surface and the weight of the wheel cause it to fluctuate a lot. To overcome this phenomenon, the shock absorber is needed – the part that helps prevent oscillations. Among the popular types of shock absorbers are: 1-tube Shock Absorbers, 2-tube types, 2-tube pressure steam, and hydraulic… a 2-tube shock absorber is used popularly on vehicles.  

Simply understand, that shock absorbers are a part of your car that helps ensure safety and limit the risk of accidents for drivers. Normally, the shock absorber is located in the car’s suspension system. They are responsible for minimizing strong vibrations when the vehicle moves through bad roads or potholes… 

What do shock absorbers do in your car
What do shock absorbers do in your car? (Photo: pinterest.com)

Tell-Tale Symptoms Of A Bad Shock Absorber

Many things can go wrong with shocks, and these will happen right under your nose. Knowing about the symptoms will help you figure out the source of the problem and make an educated decision.

Uneven wear on tires

Shocks assist in keeping the tires on the ground, so it makes sense that a failing shock absorber won’t let the treads rub away evenly. It’s a huge red flag because it may cause accidents if the tires don’t stay firmly on the road. Patchy worn-out areas increase the risk of hydroplaning and sudden flat.

Vibrations while driving

It’s another shock absorber problem that you need to worry about. If the shocks are fine, there should not be any vibration felt through the steering wheel. It may happen when the fluid inside the valve or piston seal leaks and causes an overreaction with every tiny bump. You should take immediate action because the shaking could be intense at high speeds, leading to losing control of the car.

Watch out the noises

Just like vibrations, unusual sounds such as rattling or rocking could be the reasons for a failing shock absorber. A heavily worn shock could be the culprit if driving on uneven surfaces feels like experiencing mini earthquakes every minute. Riding under such a circumstance will be highly uncomfortable. Besides, such massive shaking and rattling will put pressure on other car components, leading to wearing them out before time.

 See more:

Slow response of the gas pedal

failing shock absorber
Slow gas pedal response can cause fatal accidents. (Photo source: Shutterstock)

The worse the condition of the shock the more time your vehicle will take to respond to the brakes. A failing shock absorber will increase the stopping distance by 20%. For example, if your car used to go no more than two feet before properly stopping, a defective shock can cause it to cover more distance after hitting the brake. Such a problem needs immediate repair because it can cause fatal accidents.

Nose diving while braking

It’s a severe shock observer problem because it can make the driver lose control of the car, which can be deadly in wet weather. If the fluid in the valve or piston leaks through the seal, the slightest pressure on the brake will result in extreme piston movement within the cylinder. It may cause swerving by shifting the vehicle’s weight to the opposite direction of your turn or a nose dive by swinging the weight more than normal at the time of braking.

Good shock and bad shock absorber: How to know:

How To Test Shock Absorbers Periodically? 

Shock absorbers often have to operate stressfully, so it is difficult to avoid damage or wear out, so periodically checking car shock absorbers is extremely necessary. The test is carried out according to the following steps:

Step 1: The driver parks the car on flat ground, and then pulls the handbrake.

Step 2: Observe the shock absorbers on both sides of the front wheel to check. If there is a high or low difference between them, this is a warning indicating an abnormality. The standard parameters of the vehicle suspension system are the most accurate basis for determining the balance of the shock absorbers on both sides.

Step 3: The driver continues to check the springs, bolts, and rubber cushions… to see the condition. If there are any unusual signs such as cracks, breaks, or damage, replacement is needed. 

Car shock absorbers will work best when the car drives through rough terrains. This is also the time when the suspension system must operate at its highest capacity and suffer the most damage. Therefore, to minimize negative effects on shock absorbers, drivers should limit traveling through these roads.

The Final Words

Take the car to a servicing center should any of these symptoms occur. Diagnose it for a bad shock absorber and other related problems such as issues with brake rotors or tire alignment. It’s better to take action because these can result in life-threatening accidents.