If you are like most people, you probably don't think about the shock absorbers on your vehicle until they start to fail. In this article, we are going to take a look at three main types of shock absorber and how/why they are different from each other.
Before we dig into that, however, let's take look at how to determine if/when it's time to replace your current shock absorbers.
Is it Time to Replace Your Shock Absorbers?
It can be difficult to gauge when it's time to replace your shock absorbers. That's because, unlike other components that simply "go," shock absorbers lose performance integrity over time. For this reason, the window for shock replace is a wide one at 50,000-100,000 miles. Where your vehicle falls on this spectrum is largely determined by a variety of factors, including road conditions, driving style, towing/hauling, and the like.
For the vast majority of drivers, noticing they no longer have the same comfortable ride is the most obvious sign that shocks need to be replaced, some common indicators that it's time to replace your shock absorbers include:
- A bumpy ride where the whole vehicle shakes any time you hit a bump
- Leaking shock absorber fluid (hydraulic fluid) from the shocks
- Uneven wear on tires caused by the lack of proper resistance needed to keep tires firmly on the road when driving
- Instability, such as vehicle sway when going around corners or the nose of the vehicle dipping when you brake (brake dive)
When you've made the decision to replace/repair your shocks, here is some information about modern shock absorbers to help you navigate the replacement process.
Conventional Telescopic Shock Absorbers
Conventional telescopic shock absorbers are your most basic type of shock absorbers. Because these conventional shock absorbers are more affordable than other types of shock absorbers, they are most often replaced instead of being repaired.
Conventional telescopic shock absorbers can be fitted to rear and front suspensions alike.
Strut Type Shock Absorbers
Strut type shock absorbers are designed to replace part of the conventional suspension with struts. The difference in design delivers a higher degree of structural integrity that allows these shocks to better handle heavy loads. If you are doing a significant amount of hauling or towing, this is the best option for you.
McPherson struts are repairable units. They are engineered to be repairable via their ability to be fitted with replacement strut cartridges. Sealed strut units, on the other hand, will require a complete strut replacement.
Spring Seat Shocks
Spring seat shocks shares attributes of telescopic and strut type shock absorbers. Akin to struts, spring seat shocks are a combination suspension unit and damping device. Unlike strut type shock absorbers, spring seat shocks are not designed to handle heavy loads. If damaged, spring seat shocks will need a complete replacement.
Shock absorber failure can occur for many reasons, including normal wear and tear or improper maintenance. Your mechanic should be able to discern any issues based on a simple description of factors like the ones includes at the top of this article.
Many auto manufacturers offer vehicle warranties that will cover faulty automotive shock absorber issues. Learn more about Mopar vehicle warranty protection plans and Ford extended service plans and coverage plans that address shocks and suspension. You can also call 1.269.685.3557 to get more information today.