SACHS Useful Tip:Regularly inspect shock absorbers.

A drop in performance of shock absorbers harbours many risks for drivers. The workshop professional knows when replacement is necessary and only uses original spare parts.

Risk of shock absorber wear

New inspection campaigns have shown that approx. one in seven tested vehicles has got at least one defective shock absorber. For vehicles with either worn or defective shock absorbers, or with an electronically adjustable chassis, several risks run at once: The stopping distance becomes longer because the car's road contact is no longer optimally ensured. Many electronic advanced driver assistance systems – such as the ESP electronic stability programme, ABS or traction control – require good contact of the wheels with the road to be able to develop their full potential. This therefore means that the full performance of the shock absorbers becomes more important, the more electronic safety systems are installed in the car.

Dangers of extended stopping

Short stopping distances are only possible with functional shock absorbers. Defective shocks reduce the brake force due to insufficient traction. The stopping distance increases by up to 20% – depending on speed, vehicle systems and road surface. This can be as high as 6 meters for speeds up to 80 km/h – way too long when every meter counts.

Consequences of shock absorber wear

Drivers do not notice wear of their shock absorbers – and therefore depend on the professional advice from their workshop.

If the shock absorbers no longer prevent the car body from pitching and vibrating, then it is more difficult to control the vehicle during evasive manoeuvers. Its cornering ability generally becomes unstable; the cars are also more prone to aquaplaning. In addition, the shock absorber wear has a negative impact in other areas: Tyres and chassis components, such as tie rod ends or steering devices, in turn are exposed to greater wear.

An oil leak is a clear indication of a defective shock absorber. However, the shock absorber may be defective, even if no oil spills are visible. A professional inspection at a specialised workshop is therefore essential.

Additional information