Apart from smoothing out vibrations and bumps, the major role of this shock absorber is to keep tires of the vehicle in contact with the surface of the road throughout. This will ensure securest braking response from the car and less wear and tear on your tires.
Technically, it carries out this role by converting developed kinetic energy from shocking into a different type of energy (heat), which is later distributed. This is another kind of dashpot.
Role of the shock absorbers
Shock absorbers play two major roles. In addition to regulating the movements of the suspension and springs, they maintain the tire contact with the road surface throughout.
In motion or at rest, the bottom surface of the vehicle should be the only part in contact with the ground. Poor contact of the tire to the ground will compromise the capacity to steer, drive and even the braking response.
Poor control of the vehicle is very risky, especially when driving at high speed. Despite the common belief, these shock absorbers provide no support to the weight of the vehicle.
When a vehicle is in motion, its shock absorbers are always under maximum use. Similar to the rest of the components of the car, tear and wear will occur over time. This will reduce their capacity to function correctly.
How to determine the replacement of shock absorbers?
- 1. Increase in the stopping distance
Stopping distance increases by 20% for a vehicle with worn shock absorbers. As the speed of the vehicle increases, it will automatically increase the distance needed to stop the vehicle completely.
This increased distance can be very dangerous since it may cause an accident, thus it requires immediate attention.
- 2. Nose – dives and swerving
Check your shock absorbers to avoid vehicles’ swerving or dipping under braking. This can be very dangerous, especially in cold weather since it will reduce the control over the motor vehicle.
- 3. Vibrations
There should be no vibrations through the steering wheel when driving. This condition is experienced when there exist little contact between the tire and the road surface caused by worn shock absorbers.
Caution should be paramount during this condition since at high speed, the driver can lose the overall vehicle control. On replacement, it will ensure maximum comfort during the driving session.
- 4. Car veering and sliding
Shock absorbers are worn out in case the vehicle does not have the correct veering and sliding across the road surface during mild winds. This can be fixed with replacement of shock. Good shock absorbers will ensure maximum vehicle control and safety.
- 5. Uneven wearing of the tires
Uneven wear or bald patches on tires are clear indications that they lack maximum contact with the road surface. This is a common effect of worn out shock absorbers. Generally, it will have a great impact on the control of the car and the tire grip.
This will also lead to poor control of the vehicle ride. Immediate checking and replacement of the worn shocks should be carried out.