Suspension and Shock Absorbers
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Hi and welcome to the SRC Auto Care – your trusted experts when it comes to tyres and vehicle maintenance.
On this page, we would like to provide you with some very important information about your vehicle’s shock absorbers and suspension, every car owner should know about.
The shock absorbers and the suspension are the parts that keep the wheels of the vehicle in contact with the road surface, ensuring that the tyres adhere, and guarantees the best possible road-holding, stability and braking.
A suspension system is a complex structure consisting of several components:
- SHOCK ABSORBER
- WHEEL BEARINGS
- CV JOINTS
Shock absorbers must be inspected regularly and function smoothly to ensure maximum comfort and driving safety.
Vehicle manufacturers have designed a large number of systems to improve safety and vehicle control, including ESC (Electronic Stability Control).
When the ESC determines that the vehicle is off track, that the body pitch angle is too great, or that the wheels begin to lose grip, the power output of the engine is throttled, and the brakes are individually adjusted with the strength necessary to control the vehicle.
Shock absorber service – Sandy – SRC Auto Care
Shock absorbers are the heart of the suspension of your vehicle. They absorb the effects of uneven ground, reduce vibrations and keep the tyres in constant contact with the road under all driving conditions.Stability and security are depending on them.
The shock absorbers control the movement of the springs and dampen sudden rebound. They also prevent the tyres from losing contact with the road surface, which can lead to aquaplaning and prolonged braking distances as well as irregular tyre wear.
Upmarket vehicles feature electronically controlled shock absorbers and a dedicated control unit.
The forces generated by a moving car are extremely complex and very difficult to control as they develop along several different axes.
In the architecture of the suspension, the springs have the task of supporting the vehicle weight and absorbing the stresses caused by the road surface, as well as to keep the vehicle body relative to the road in the correct position. Springs are subject to constant rebound movements.
Springs are subject to wear: In the long term, the continuous stresses cause fatigue, and the springs lose their elasticity. The springs gradually lose their ability to return to baseline due to wear. Worn springs are therefore longer than new springs.
There are many good reasons to check the condition and function of the springs in the suspension of your vehicle and to replace them immediately at the first signs of fatigue. First, springs in good condition facilitate driving and improve steering. Also, they extend the life of the shock absorbers and other suspension components (including the tyres) and maintain the correct distance between your vehicle and the ground.
If the springs need to be replaced due to fatigue or breakage, they should always be replaced in pairs on each side. It is best to also replace the shock absorbers (here in pairs per side).
As with the shock absorbers, the replacement of only one part of the springs also leads to an imbalance in the wheels concerned, which leads to considerable impairments during braking and handling.
Suspension Service – SRC Auto Care
The wishbones are also an integral part of the suspension because they connect the wheels to the chassis, provide steering, and give the bumpers mobility.
The rubber and metal bushings on which they are mounted also reduce the transmission of vibrations from the road to the passenger compartment.
Make sure while moving on bad road surfaces, not to drive at high speed into holes and bumps, since un-foreseen shocks can easily damage the wishbone of the suspension. Frequently driving on roads in poor condition can negatively affect the performance of your suspension.
Wheel bearings are mechanical devices used to prevent friction between two counterparts rotating about the same axis. Wheel bearings make a significant contribution to the wheels (driven or driving) rotating against the chassis while bearing the loads imposed on them. Bearings consist of many rolling elements (balls or rollers), which are installed in a temperature-resistant housing, as well as two retaining rings.
So how do you know if a bearing is broken or worn?
Wheel bearings are subject to wear but cannot be repaired or serviced. They must, therefore, be replaced as soon as you notice a noise coming from the wheels at speeds between 50 and 75 mph.
Wheel bearings can be damaged by:
- DAMAGE TO OTHER SUSPENSION COMPONENTS
- NORMAL LONG-TERM WEAR
Worn or damaged bearings can affect the vehicle's road holding and cause rapid wear on the wheel and suspension components. Ball bearings must be replaced immediately at the first sign of wheel noise.
CONSTANT VELOCITY JOINTS
Constant velocity joints are important mechanical components of the transmission and the wheels. They transfer torque and power from the transmission to the driving wheels, creating traction. They support the activity of shock the absorbers.
The penetration of dust and dirt into the constant velocity joints is prevented by bladders made of thermoplastic elastomers (these materials were selected due to their ageing, thermal shock and impact resistance). Genuine constant velocity universal joints from MOPAR ® are made of special steel enriched with boron and chromium to ensure high-temperature resistance and greater reliability.
Although CV joints have been designed for years of operation, there are many factors that limit their useful life and require replacement:
- LACK OF FAT (DUE TO A BROKEN BELLOWS OR LOOSE BELLOWS)
- HARD DRIVING CONDITIONS (FREQUENT USE IN CITY TRAFFIC OR OFF-ROAD)
- EXTREMELY HOT AND EXTREMELY COLD TEMPERATURES
Have your constant velocity joints checked after three years or 55,000 miles and subsequently at each maintenance interval.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Shock absorbers wear slowly and gradually and attack other suspension components such as tyres, springs and other mechanical parts. The driver tends to compensate for the reduced performance of the shock absorbers by his driving style, often without even noticing.
However, good vehicle maintenance is crucial to active safety. It is estimated that more than 50% of road vehicles drive with worn or damaged shock absorbers.
Attention! Worn shocks affect stability and road holding, especially when cornering, and also extend the braking distance. Worn out shock absorbers can extend your braking distance by 2 or even 3 meters at a speed of 50 mph.
Your shocks and springs work together to keep your tyres in contact with the road surface. If your springs are worn out, they can fail and additionally stress your shock absorbers. For maximum tyre grip, shock absorbers and springs should always be replaced together and side by side in pairs. Ask your SRC Auto Care partners for help: We will gladly recommend the best repair solution for your requirements.
"The mechanical sciences are the noblest and most useful of all, for through their detour all bodies set in motion perform the work for which they were developed," Leonardo da Vinci.
Leonardo da Vinci discovered the principle of the ball bearing already in the 15th century when he thought about friction. He discovered that the friction decreased when the balls could not touch each other. Therefore, he developed a device that separated the balls from each other so they could spin freely - the forerunner of the modern ball-bearing cage.
The world still had to wait until the Industrial Revolution before ball bearings were widely used in industrial applications. The first patent on ball bearings was proposed in 1794.
Shock absorbers affect directly on:
ROAD HOLDING, ESPECIALLY IN CURVES
Measures to extend the life of your shock absorbers:
CHECK AT EVERY INSPECTION
PAIRWISE REPLACEMENT ON THE SAME SIDE
SIMULTANEOUS REPLACEMENT OF DRIVE BUFFERS AND DUST BAGS
On average, shock absorbers should be replaced every 50,000 miles. However, the degree of wear depends on the use you make of your vehicle and your driving style.
To determine when your shocks need to be replaced, be aware of the following malfunctions of your vehicle:
- LONGER BRAKING DISTANCES
- LIMITED EFFICIENCY OF ABS AND ESP
- LOWER ADHESION AND TENDENCY TO BREAK IN CURVES
- LESS GRIP IN CROSSWIND AND WET ROADS
- AQUAPLANING, EVEN AT LOW SPEED
- SPRINGS AND NOISES FROM THE SUSPENSION, ON THE STRAIGHTS OR WHEN STEERING
- TOO BIG A GAME IN THE STEERING
- UNUSUAL ROLLING MOVEMENTS WHEN BRAKING OR ACCELERATING
- ABNORMAL TYRE WEAR (UNEVEN OR ACCELERATED)
When should the wishbones be replaced?
- IF YOU HEAR A METAL KNOCK WHEN DRIVING OVER BUMPS.
- WHEN THERE IS CLEARANCE AT THE REAR WHEELS.
- WHEN THE RUBBER BUSHINGS ARE WORN OUT.
As soon as you notice any of these problems, have your vehicle checked by our team of experts at the SRC Auto Care. If you have any questions, please get in touch with us.
Your SRC Auto Care Team