How Do Shock Absorbers Work?

Did you know that shock absorbers play a crucial role in your vehicle’s handling performance and ride comfort? Whether you’re a car enthusiast or simply rely on your car for daily transportation, shock absorbers are oftentimes the most overlooked vehicle part, but they shouldn’t be! Why? These car suspension parts are a simple and effective device that help power your car. Below we’ve broken down the importance of shock absorbers below.

Shock Absorbers Exposed

In the simplest of terms, shock absorbers are hydraulic pump-like devices that control the movement of your vehicle’s springs and suspension system. In addition to helping smooth out bumps and vibrations, the crucial role that shock absorbers play is to make sure that your car’s tires remain on the road at all times.

How Do Shock Absorbers Work?

They work by taking the kinetic energy (movement) in your vehicle’s suspension and converting it into heat or thermal energy. Sounds complicated, right? Taking the science aspect away, it’s quite simple. Basically, like oil pumps that adjust the hydraulic fluid pressure in a tube, shock absorbers slow down and speed up depending upon the resistance needed to keep tires in contact with the road.

Design of Shock Absorbers

Throughout the years, there have been many different designs. In today’s automotive world, shock absorbers have four basic types: twin-tube, mono-tube, gas-filled mono-tube, and external reservoir. No matter what type of shock absorber you choose, they all do the same job. The reason for the different types is due to the fact that different vehicles and suspension systems require different shock absorbers.

Types of Shock Absorbers

All shock absorbers fit into one of three types: conventional telescopic, struts, and spring seat shocks. The simplest type (a conventional telescopic shock absorber) can be found in the front and rear suspension system. Strut type shock absorbers replace part of the suspension system and are built to take on greater loads and forces. Lastly, spring seat shocks use the design mechanisms of both telescopic and strut type shock absorbers. Built as a suspension and dampening unit, spring seat shocks can’t handle large loads.

When to Buy New Shocks

Shock absorbers slowly degrade throughout their lifetime. So when do you know when it’s time to replace them? A seal will rupture and leave a shock covered in oil, your vehicle’s handling may seem “off,” or your vehicle has made it past the 80,000- to 100,000-mile mark.

Finding the Best Shock Absorbers

Depending on the type of vehicle you have and the type of driving you do will determine which ones to buy. Shocks can range in price, and trust us when we say that you get what you pay for. If you were happy with the driving and handling of your vehicle, you should buy the original replacement parts. If you’re in the market for something more, there are many options, ranging from heavy-duty to performance.

And there you have it, our guide to shock absorbers. Do you have any questions that we didn’t address above? Tell us in the comments below.

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