A large but crucial component of the car that often goes unchecked is the suspension. Sometimes it’s more an attitude of ‘I don’t know’ rather than ‘I don’t care’.
The suspension is basically that area in the cars that decide how it may feel to travel over several different terrains.
It consists of tyres, springs, shock absorbers, body mountings and sometimes even seat cushions to collectively protect the driver from an uncomfortable ride.
Springs contract and expand to keep the body of the car flexible as its hits various contours on the roads. It reduces the impact felt by the car when it hits a pothole or when going up a pavement so to speak, so that the car is as level as possible.
The shocks on the other hand meet the springs halfway so that its bounces are not exaggerated. The shocks take energy stored by the movement of the springs to make the motion of moving on uneven terrain as smooth as possible.
That is why when your shocks are dead, you don’t need to be told by an experienced mechanic, you can tell by the extra kick in that pothole or the extra jig on the many uneven surfaces that we drive on every day, that something is not quite right.
Sometimes however, that feeling may come a bit too late and you could be facing a hazard by not having shocks and springs that are up to par.
Bad shocks can put you in jeopardy in several ways, and this needs to avoided at all costs (pun intended). One of the most common mishaps is that you lose out on your braking distance.
For instance, according to experts from Auto-express, a car going 45kph will need an extra 2 metres of braking space than usual when the shocks begin to wear out. The same goes for skidding or aquaplaning; the worn out shocks reduce your ability to control the car and you could find yourself in a needless accident. You sure don’t want that!
To be on the safe side, the following are tell-tale signs that your shocks or springs need to replaced with brand new ones: When your
- Vehicle sways or rolls unduly when cornering
- Front end dips when braking
- Rear end dips when accelerating
- Shocks rattle because bushes are worn or broken
So be keen and report it to an expert when you start experiencing these problems. Know what a new shock/spring looks like so that you can compare it to the one your mechanic is removing, and the one he’s replacing it with!