A shock absorber is the part of your car that ensures your tires stay on the ground in a consistent fashion. It also, as its name suggests, absorbs shocks so that your tires and vehicle is able to last longer.
It's placed specifically on your suspension and springs because it's there to manage how they move. They're the ones that ensure your tires are always touching the road whether your car is on the move or on a standstill.
Your shocks are particularly handy when you're driving through a bumpy road exactly because they absorb the shakiness and vibrations.
Symptoms of Shock Absorber Failure
- Late Brake Reaction: If your shock absorbers are ruined and require replacement, then your brakes will tend to react slower than before. Shocks make it easier for your brakes to work. In turn, shocks that are compromised tend to make it harder for your car to stop or slow down. It takes your vehicle much more time to complete the braking task because the piston rod length not being taken up quickly enough by your car.
- Crack in the Bushing and Tapping Sounds: There are rubber bushings found on every end of the shock absorber. Once a crack forms on the rubber bushing, expect tapping sounds to soon follow. You'll specifically hear the tapping every time you hit a speed bump or a pothole in the road, indicating the need for shocks replacement as soon as possible.
- Fluid Leakages Galore: Speaking of fluids, your car fluids can end up leaking due to the shock absorber's body breaking down. The shock absorber is safeguarded against oil, lubricant, or system fluid leakages through seals. Once these seals degrade, the side of your shocks' body will start bleeding various auto fluids until they all pool under your car. Once your shocks start leaking heavily, they won't be able to work correctly.
- Feel It, Feel It, Feel the (Steering Wheel) Vibrations: If either the piston seals or valves (or both) of your shock absorber end up busted, then the flow of lubricating fluid will go out of control. Your oil can move through the valve and/or the piston seal. When this happens, your steering wheel will shake every time you drive over bumps or potholes, regardless of its size.
- Swerves and Curves: If your shock absorbers aren't working properly, then swerving or nose-diving might occur. Swerves in this context refer to your car suddenly turning aside from a straight course when you hit the brake pedal while turning. Bad shocks will make the weight of your automobile to move in the opposite way as you turn, resulting in chaotic swerves that could lead to dangerous accidents. It's also harder to fix your car's swerve when turning.