What does a rear shock absorber do?
Shock absorbers are responsible for your vehicle’s smooth drive over bumpy or uneven roads and are an essential part of your suspension system.
Your shock absorbers are gas-filled tubes that are compressed by a piston, dissipating kinetic energy to provide a comfortable ride for you and your passengers, regulating the rebounding of the car.
How often should shock absorbers need replacing?
You can expect shock absorbers to last at least 50k miles. Your owner’s manual may specify a different mileage or duration, as this figure is only a guideline. You should also have your shock absorbers checked after heavy contact with potholes, curbs or large rocks in the road.
The law, vehicle regulations and your MOT
Car suspension is a common reason for MOT failures. Broken or faulty shock absorbers, including oil leaks, will be a definite fail at an MOT.
What causes a shock absorber to stop working correctly?
If a shock absorber is leaking fluid, from malfunctioning or damaged seals, it will fail to operate correctly.
A damaged, broken or bent shock absorber will also fail to operate as intended. This can happen through continual use, general wear or through damage from an accident.
Some of the smaller internal parts will eventually wear out, which will prevent the complete component operating correctly.
Symptoms of a malfunctioning rear shock absorber
Excessive bouncing and an uncomfortable ride
If your car is providing uncomfortable ride quality and is bouncing excessively, it could be that your shock absorbers aren’t operating correctly.
The car feels unstable
When navigating corners or over uneven ground and your car feels unstable, this could also be due to suspension damage.
Driving over speed bumps is difficult
When driving over speed bumps or raised road elements causes uncomfortable and excessive bouncing, it is likely that your shock absorbers are damaged.
If you spot signs of leaking
Any puddles of oil-like fluid on the road around your wheels could be escaping from leaking shock absorbers.
If your wheels leave the ground
If your tyres lose contact with the road when driving over bumpy or uneven surfaces, then your suspension isn’t working properly and could be down to a faulty shock absorber.