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Shock absorbers are one of the most important parts of a car's suspension, ensuring safety and comfort on the road. To stay safe on the road and to avoid endangering yourself and other road users, you need to take care of your car's maintenance. The shock absorber is no exception, and is just as important a part of the car as the brakes, steering wheel, engine components and other instruments. The shock absorber's primary function is not only to provide comfort during journeys but also safety on the road, which is why it is essential to maintain it regularly and replace it regularly.
The shock absorber is one of the components of the suspension system. The suspension system consists of the following main components: front and/or rear shock absorbers, wheels and tyres, and suspension springs. All these suspension components need to work perfectly to ensure that the car has a good grip on the road and a comfortable ride. They also influence the handling of the vehicle and the operation of many systems (abs, esp, asr). The purpose of the shock absorber in this system is to ensure that the vehicle moves smoothly and that the tyres maintain the required contact with the road surface.
The shock absorber provides a simpler, more comfortable and smoother handling of the vehicle over a wide range of road surfaces. It also contributes to safer journeys. Without a shock absorber, it would be difficult to negotiate uneven roads, the vehicle would be less stable, there would be more vibration and poor grip between the wheels and the road surface, and the vehicle would not have good contact with the road surface, which is why shock absorbers are essential and mandatory for all vehicles. They not only provide safety on the road but also protect other parts of the vehicle. Shock absorbers also contribute to longer braking system functionality - without them, stopping distances would be several times longer, which would lead to faster brake wear and also to road hazards.
The shock absorber, like other parts of the vehicle, is exposed to a wide range of environmental factors and is therefore prone to wear and failure. The most common causes of shock absorber failures are environmental changes such as temperature fluctuations, sand, salt and precipitation. Also poor road surfaces, aggressive driving styles, exposure to dirt and chemicals, irregular maintenance, insufficient oil in the reservoir. So it's not just the tyres that are adversely affected, but also the shock absorbers. Regular maintenance and replacement are therefore inevitable.
The shock absorber does not normally need to be replaced when it breaks down, when it gets damaged, but mostly in the event of wear. When the shock absorber wears out, it is less effective at absorbing shocks, so the wheels do not grip the road surface. This makes the car much harder to handle, increases braking times and, as the shock absorber wears, causes more vibration, which damages the whole suspension and its components. Normal shock absorber wear and tear is recommended every 60-80 thousand kilometres. Diagnostics should be carried out at least every 20 000 kilometres. The cold season and freezing temperatures also have a direct effect on the detail, so it is recommended to check every spring.
- body roll;
- visible corrosion on the element;
- prolonged braking time of the vehicle;
- mechanical damage;
- audible grinding and extraneous noises;
- wheel vibration;
- oil leaks on the part;
- uneven tyre wear;
- reduced vehicle stability.
One of the easiest ways to check the effectiveness of the shock absorber yourself is to give the car a hard, sharp push from above with your hands. If the shock absorber is working effectively, the car's body should return smoothly to its original position; if the shock absorber is ineffective, the car may sway as a result. Normally, if the shock absorber is no longer as good as it should be, there is no need to check it, it is simply a sign of the car's handling and stability, which can be compromised, especially in difficult weather conditions. In such conditions, an inadequate shock absorber limits the speed of the car and increases the possibility of aquaplaning.
In addition to the regular replacement of shock absorbers, the above factors also make it necessary to replace shock absorbers when they fail. This can be a deformation of the component, a breach in the seal tightness or a valve failure. In such cases, the replacement of the shock absorbers with new ones is therefore unavoidable. Modern shock absorbers are non-removable, so if any of the components fail, they are not repaired but replaced. Normally, the failure of one shock absorber requires the simultaneous replacement of a second shock absorber on the same axle. Shock absorbers and their price depend on the manufacturer and technical parameters. They vary according to their length, axle length, dimensions and manufacturers. Therefore, you must purchase new shock absorbers responsibly, according to the specific model of your car.
They are classified according to the type of filling and construction.
- Gas shock absorbers: nitrogen is injected into the system at high pressure to prevent the oil from foaming.
- Hydraulic shock absorbers: oil is used as the working fluid.
Otherwise known as high-pressure, oil-gas or gas shock absorbers. In this type of shock absorber, the oil cools more quickly because there is no external pipe. The damping is achieved by gas compression. Here, the oil is separated from the gas by a piston, so that it does not foam, allowing the gas pressure to be increased to between 20 and 30 MPa, which gives this type of shock absorber a better performance. The shock absorber has better vibration damping, quick response, quiet operation and low weight. This type of shock absorber has better performance than oil-lubricated shock absorbers. It has better characteristics than a twin-tube shock absorber and is often used on race tracks in racing sports cars.
These shock absorbers have two tubes and have the advantage of simplicity of construction. This type of shock absorber gives the car better grip, faster response on rough roads and greater comfort.
In oil-lubricated twin-tube shock absorbers, the piston pushes the oil through two valves, one in the piston and one in the housing. In this type of shock absorber, the piston is located in the inner tube and the excess oil is forced into the outer tube. This outer tube contains air above the oil, which mixes with the rippling oil and can cause foaming. The disadvantage here is therefore rapid heating and foaming of the oil, which reduces the quality of the work.
The choice of oil or gas shock absorbers depends entirely on the operation of your vehicle and the manufacturer's instructions. Oily dampers are cheaper, provide comfort, but tend to overheat under higher loads. Gaseous ones are more rigid, provide a smoother ride and are designed for more sporty cars, withstanding high performance and loads.
There are different types of shock absorbers, so different types are used for different types of car use. You can buy shock absorbers for your car at partecha.com, where you will find a wide selection of shock absorbers and parts. Use the convenient search engine - select the manufacturer, model and modification of your car and the system will automatically generate the right parts for your car according to your search criteria.
You can change your shock absorber yourself or leave it to the professionals. To do it yourself, you'll need a lifting attachment, a set of tools and WD-40 spray. The following steps should be followed when carrying out the replacement:
- Remove the vehicle wheel.
- If necessary, disconnect the brake hoses.
- Remove the upper mounts, then the lower mounts.
- Remove the spring using a puller.
- Insert the new part in place of the old one and reverse all steps.