How Shock Absorbers Provide You With A Smoother Ride

What happens when your usually smooth ride becomes a bumpy and jumpy one? If you aren’t familiar with cars and often turn to friends and family for advice, they’ll probably tell you to check your shock absorbers first, which your mechanic will then replace for you. Do you understand exactly what your shocks do and why they can impact your car’s suspensions? If not, it’s worth gaining a deeper understanding of this valuable part.

What are shock absorbers?

Shock absorbers don’t absorb shocks to your car at all. In fact, it’s your car’s springs that compress to absorb the energy of bumps you encounter on the road. After being compressed, they will need to uncoil to release this compressed energy, which could push your car upwards quite violently. This constant coiling and uncoiling of your car’s springs are absorbed by your shocks, which provide resistance to this movement and take care of the excess energy being displaced. This is why worn shocks result in a bumpy ride, as there’s no resistance to your car’s springs.

How do shock absorbers work?

There are many different kinds of shock absorbers available, but almost all of them work within the same operating principles. Inside each, you will find a piston sitting in a tube filled with oil. As the piston moves, oil is forced through specially designed valves and holes in the piston, creating the amount of resistance required to control your springs’ movement and converting the excess energy to heat.

Many variations of the shock absorber exist, and some cars might have any variation of the following:

  • Twin-tube shocks (more affordable but less effective)
  • Mono-tube shocks (more costly to manufacture, but with a longer lifespan)
  • Gas-filled mono-tube shocks (high-grade shocks popular amongst race and rally car drivers)
  • External reservoir shocks (usually reserved for bespoke and high-performance vehicles and not really useful for day-to-day driving)

Now that you know what your shocks are getting up to inside your vehicle, you’ll have a better understanding of what happens when they fail. Since shock absorbers have a predictable lifespan, it is best to replace them at the required intervals, rather than waiting for them to cause problems on the road.

For more information or to replace your shock absorbers, get in touch with your nearest ABS service centre today.