Car’s Shocks Absorber Tips and Guides

There are several warning signs that your car’s shocks need to be replaced. Does your car bottom out when you hit dips in the road? When you do hit them, does your car keep bouncing for a few seconds? Another sign is excessive body lean in turns, or that the front of the car dives down hard when braking. All of these are symptoms that your shocks may not be doing their job well anymore.

Here’s what to know about them.

They don’t actually absorb shocks

First, what we call shock absorbers are really “dampeners”, they don’t really absorb “shocks” at all. The components of a vehicle’s suspension that do absorb bumps and shocks are the vehicle’s springs. What shock absorbers do is different; they prevent the springs from bouncing around after a hard bump. And they can wear out and fail to dampen a car’s springs when driving, thereby creating the symptoms we discussed.

How you can test them

If you suspect that the shocks in your car might need replacing, here’s one way to test them. Place your hand firmly on each corner of a vehicle, give it a strong push downward, then let go and watch. If your car continues to bounce a little after you let it go, your shocks probably need replacing. What should happen is that the corner of the vehicle “dampens out” quickly and comes to a halt. Note that this test may require quite a bit of strength and with many high-riding SUVs and pickups it isn’t easy to get the leverage you need to perform the test. Instead, you should have a qualified mechanic check your shock absorbers for you.

How long should they should last?

Despite advice to replace shocks at specific intervals, such as every 50,000 miles, your shocks might last a relatively short amount of time or quite a long time. If you frequently drive over rough, bumpy roads that put more stress on shock absorbers, then you will probably need to replace them more often than if you drive mainly highway miles. Carrying heavy loads also will wear out shocks faster than commuting to work does.


Your vehicle’s shock absorbers perform a very important duty in your car and for safety reasons they should be changed when needed. If you suspect your shocks are worn out, bring your car to a professional mechanic and have them looked at. You don’t want to put anyone at risk just to save a few dollars.


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