Shock Absorbers for different automobiles
Top mount (strut mount)(16482 items)
Strut bearing(1773 items)
Suspension springs (coil springs)(73223 items)
Shock absorber boots & bump stops(13472 items)
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Shock Absorber knocked out?? » Read more about common malfunctions • Repair • Replacement manual
Maintaining contact with the road
The shock absorber is part of the car suspension and, in conjunction with springs, limits excessive suspension movement of a vehicle. A defective shock absorber (damper) considerably compromises the driving safety. Fortunately, the suspension of a car can easily be tested.
Shock absorber design
There are many different damping constructions. The central task of this module is reducing the speed of the bouncing movement of the wheel to make driving on rough ground more comfortable. In average cars the system with shock absorber and spring has been proven most effective. Together they form the suspension strut, carrying the car's entire weight. The shock absorber sits on the front axle in the centre of the coil spring. This construction is both complicated and dangerous. Therefore it is of the utmost importance to only use the appropriate tools when replacing shock absorbers.
Makeshift solutions can end fatally!On the rear axle of family cars, the torsion or coil springs sit apart from the shock absorber, making its replacement considerably easier. Actually, the shock absorber is nothing else but a gas spring, consisting of a cylinder with a piston in it. The cylinder contains compressed gas. The downward movement of the piston compresses the gas even more, causing counter-pressure. The car moves upward together with the spring, dampening the effect of bumps, considerably adding to driving comfort.
Defects of the suspension strut
The Achilles' heel of a gas spring is always the gasket between cylinder and piston. The permanent pressure causes it to gradually loose its effect. The pressurised gas escapes and the shock absorber becomes inoperative. The following symptoms occur:
- a "spongy" driving quality
- longer braking distance
- driving through a curve is difficult
- screeching tyres
- the car pulls to one side during driving.
The functionality of the shock absorbers can be simply tested. Park the car and forcefully press the car downwards at every corner. If the car bounces back several times, the shock absorbers are definitely defective and must be replaced. However, only a diagnosis in a garage offers absolute certainty.
Replacing the shock absorber
On the rear axle, replacement of the shock absorber should be easy. The car is jacked up sufficiently for the wheel to hang and the shock absorber to be totally slack. It can now be screwed off and replaced. On the front axle, the replacement of a suspension strut is considerably more difficult. The challenge is compressing the coil spring to enable the removal of the internal shock absorber. A coil spring can build up an enormous amount of pressure: naturally, as it should be able to safely dampen a vehicle weighing up to several tons. Only compression tools are allowed which are exactly suited for this task. No attempts with tension belts should be made. It is simply too dangerous.
Quality for shock absorbers and spring struts
Although a shock absorber is a relatively complex component, prices are generally moderate. When buying a new suspension it all strongly depends on the value of the car or how long it is supposed to run the road. The shop offers cheap struts as well. Their life span and function reflect the price. Absolute safety is only obtained by choosing quality. Branded products are always the best choice, even if this means paying over 100 euro (c.£90) for a set of shock absorbers.