Symptoms of Bad Shock Absorbers and What to Do’s
Imagine it's a beautiful spring afternoon, and you're riding your car in the countryside. The ride is so smooth and comfortable as if it was in rhythm with the season, and you feel blessed for everything you have. Now, do you ever stop and wonder what makes a ride so smooth even on the worst kind of bumps that your car has to face on the go? If yes, then the answer to your query is the shock absorber. Also acknowledged as the damper or car shocks, in short, it is, undoubtedly, one of the engineering prodigies in the modern-day automobile. You also need to know the symptoms of bad shock absorbers and replacement of those for amazing riding by your car.
However, a few questions may travel throughout your mind now such as –
- What are the symptoms of a bad shock absorber?
- What are the signs of bad shocks?
- How do you know when shock absorbers need replacing?
- Do bad shock absorbers make noise?
Well, no need to put more stress on your already stressed-out brain because we are here to help. Allow us to take you through a detailed walkthrough on shock absorbers while answering your questions. However, note that in this article, we'll mainly focus on the symptoms of bad shock absorbers and what to do in that case because nobody likes a bumpy riding experience and broken car parts, do they?
What Are Shock Absorbers?
Shock absorbers are mechanical or hydraulic devices that, as the name suggests, absorb or damp shock impulses. They can do so by turning the shock impulses into another form of energy, mainly heat. Good car shocks are must for smoother rides with better control for any modern-day automobile.
Do You Need Shock Absorbers?
Can you think about you are putting into a shaker and shook continuously even for a minute? No? Well, that’s almost what happens to your car when it runs on rough terrains or bumpy roads or even normal roads and that too for miles after miles spanning over hours and hours.
On the other hand, riding through bumpy roads makes your car parts collide with each other due to the shaking caused by shock impulses. Now, if the shock impulses are not dampened or reduced, you'll inevitably end up with broken car parts and then, which is often seen in case of a car with faulty or damaged shock absorbers. Therefore, the best shock absorbers are not only saving your comfort but also your car parts.
A decent shock absorber can, with no doubt, be one of the key factors that can determine the lifetime of your car. Therefore, it's a must to know about the good quality shock absorbers, what happens if they go bad, how to fix or replace them and keep them going for your beloved automobile.
What Causes Shocks to Go Bad?
There is more than one reason that causes shocks to go bad. For example-
1) Manufacturing Defect:
Nothing will end well without a proper beginning. Shock absorbers are no exceptions. It's not rare for shock absorbers with manufacturing defects even though you follow many measures to prevent this occurrence. People often observe this event in the case of cheap shock absorbers. A minimum budget is allotted in their production, causing minimum defect-prevent measures being taken place. This usually produces bad struts, which are already faulty straight out of the factories.
2) Improper Installation:
The installation of shock absorbers is often not an easy task, and if you're a beginner, it's even more difficult. We have had countless instances where we have noticed the finest of shocks are in damage or bad condition due to not being replaced or installed correctly.
3) Load Exceeding GVWR:
Every vehicle has a specific GVWR or Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. It’s a measure of the maximum load capacity for your automobile. Carrying loads exceeding the GVWR will surely damage your suspension system or shock absorbers permanently.
4) Choosing the Wrong Shocks:
It's straightforward to understand that an SUV and a tow truck have two very different loads carrying capacity, and there are specific shock absorbers made for their specific purposes. Now, if you choose light-tolerance shocks for your tow truck, which requires a high-tolerance one, it'll get damaged sooner or later.
Symptoms of Bad Shock Absorbers
Now that you know the reasons that may cause your shocks to go bad, you may as well want to check or verify if your shocks are in good shape or not, which is very important. But the question is – Do you know bad strut symptoms? Or what are the signs of bad shocks? or How to tell if shocks are bad?
Well, the good thing is that numerous symptoms will tell you whether or not something has gone wrong with your shock absorbers. Here are the vital signs you have to take under consideration:
One of the key purposes of any shock absorber is to maintain the desired height and react to varying road conditions quickly. However, with the bad or faulty shocks, the reaction will turn weak, taking a long time to restore and maintain vehicle height. An effective way to test this is to push down hard directly on the wheels and let it restore. If your shocks are in a very good shape, they will bounce back instantly, but if they are in damage condition, it will take a longer time to response giving you the idea if they are faulty or not.
If your vehicle is wobbling more than usual, especially when you take turns, it may be due to faulty shock absorbers. Damaged Shock absorbers, fail to compress and expand properly, causing uneven shock absorption that results in your vehicle to wobble like a spring.
Irregular Wear on Tires:
Tires are worn out due to the friction between them and the road surfaces. And as a specific portion of the tires is generally in contact with the roads, the wear pattern appearing on the tires are specific. However, if you notice irregular wear patterns on your tires, that means that the contact region is also varying irregularly. This may also the cause of failing shocks as they are no longer able to balance the car properly.
According to the reports published by the Daily Monitor, worn out or faulty shock absorbers can delay your brakes by 20%. So, if there is a noticeable delay between pressing the brakes and the stopping of your vehicle, it may due to failing shock absorbers.
Do you often your car making weird noises, especially when taking turns or crossing potholes? It's one of the most common bad shock symptoms. When shock absorbers are damaged or deformed or subjected to corrosion, their internal and external friction rise to a state where they produce unusual noises. You can easily check this by pressing hard directly on the wheels if there are noises during the compression and the restoration that may indicate that your shocks are going bad.
How Do You Fix A Bad Car Shock Absorber?
The shock absorbers hugely impact the safety and overall lifetime of your vehicle. Hence, fixing shock absorbers are just as important as choosing the vehicle in the first place.
Therefore, pay close attention while fixing shock absorbers for your vehicles. If you are new to this, it, perhaps, could be a confusing and difficult task for you; hence it's better to call in a professional.
However, if you want to learn how to fix it yourself, no need to get anxious because we are here to help. Here is a step by step walkthrough on how to fix shock absorbers for your vehicle:
Be Sure That Your Shocks Are Faulty:
Fixing and reinstallation of shock absorbers is not an easy task, and you also have to temper with the default system. So be sure whether or not something has gone wrong with your shocks or it’s another car part causing the issue.
Remove the Wheels:
After stabilizing your car using a car jack, carefully remove the wheels and locate the existing shocks. They are easy to notice and are fixed with a vertical bolt extracted from the trunk.
Extract the Shocks from the Suspension:
Disengage the nut adjusting the shock to the suspension and remove it from the bolt. Remove the retaining brackets if there are any and carefully extract the damaged shocks from the suspension.
Identify What’s Gone Wrong:
Now that you have the shocks extracted try identifying the type of the damage, for example- Broken rod, deformed spring, Leaking valves, etc.
Take Damage-Specific Steps:
If you have identified the damage, it's time to fix that. You can fix the roken rods by welding, and if it's the leakage, then you may have to install new valves. The springs, however, usually require to replace. It's wiser to take help from professionals.
Consider New shocks:
Sometimes, the shocks are just unfixable. In that case, you'll be left with no choice but to replace them with new ones. There are lots of good options available in the market. Choose the best one for your specific type of vehicle.
Shock absorbers, with no doubt, have significant impacts on the overall ride experience, control, and safety of your precious automobile. Therefore, you must know the symptoms of bad shock absorbers and it's remedies.