Modern technology makes it easy for drivers to take the little things about their cars for granted. Take your car’s shock absorbers, for example. You can find your shocks behind your car tyres, where they work to help control your ride, no matter how difficult the road ahead of you may be.

What are shock absorbers, and what do they do?

Shock absorbers work to help stabilise your ride while you’re on the road. They will help limit the number of bumps you have to deal with and can dull your car’s overall vibrations. More specifically, your shocks help control your suspension. They also keep your wheels in contact with the road, ensuring that you can continue to maintain control of your car.

The types of shocks you can have will vary based on your vehicle and your manufacturer’s preferences. Most, however, work by converting the kinetic energy generated by your tyres and transforming it into thermal energy. Effectively, it’s your shocks that make your car give off heat to ensure a smoother ride.

Close up of car going over a bump

Put another way, think of your shocks as pistons. Your shocks will react against the pressures exerted by the road to slow the movements of your car suspension and provide you with a more enjoyable drive. 

What different types of shock absorbers are there?

As mentioned, there are several different types of shocks that can be used in all manner of cars. The most common include: 

  • Conventional telescopic shock absorbers – Conventional telescopic shock absorbers can be used on both your front and rear tyres. These are the most affordable types of shocks for manufacturers to invest in and for DIY car enthusiasts to use when modifying a car. Their affordability makes these shocks easy to replace, if yours endure any damage.
  • Strut type shock absorbers – Strut type shock absorbers take the place of your car’s suspension and bear the weight of your car while also smoothing out your ride. You’ll most often find these types of shocks in larger cars.
  • Spring seat shocks – Like strut type shock absorbers, spring seat shocks replace your suspension system, serving as both a support system for your car as well as a system designed to ease your drives. That said, spring seat shocks cannot support the same amount of weight that strut type shocks can. You’ll most frequently find these shocks in lighter cars, as a result.

Shock absorbers

What connects your shock absorbers and your suspension?

As has been implied, your shock absorbers work alongside your car’s suspension to make your drives more comfortable. They also, however, limit the amount of tyre wear you have to deal with while travelling. 

Certain types of shocks, as mentioned, can replace your car suspension system. Shocks that are meant to bear the weight of your car won’t suffer for the lack of suspension system and are often designed to compensate for the lack thereof. 

However, you should not try to modify conventional telescopic shock absorbers into a car that doesn’t have a suspension system in place.

Mechanic inspecting shock absorber

What happens if your shock absorbers stop working?

You’ll notice your shocks starting to fail if your car ride seems shakier or bumpier than usual. Failing shocks do more than make your ride less stable, though. Without your shocks, your tyres and suspension, if present, will suffer more damage than they normally would. 

Other signs of failing shocks include:

  • Clunking or banging sounds from your tyres
  • A lower-riding vehicle
  • Vibrations through the whole of the car that seem more violent than normal

Unfortunately, more sensitive shocks can start to act up if you have more people in the car than usual. You’ll want to check your shocks for yourself, if you have the experience to, before running your car to your local garage.

Note, though, that the longevity of your shocks will often depend on your driving style. If you are a more aggressive driver, you’ll likely force your shocks to endure more stress than they would if you drove more cautiously. 

That said, most shocks are meant to be replaced within the lifetime of your car. If your shocks start to fail, you’ll want to make your way to your local garage to prevent doing damage to your car’s skeleton or to your tyres.

Close up of shock absorbers replacement in garage

How can you maintain your shock absorbers?

Car maintenance is part and parcel of owning a car. To maintain your shock absorbers, you should make sure that they are consistently able to work in tandem with one another. 

However, if you don’t have the mechanical experience to care for your shocks on your own, you’ll want to head to your local garage and have a professional determine whether or not they need to be replaced.

Your car’s shocks make your rides more pleasant and help your car tyres last for longer. That makes it crucial to ensure that they’re put under as little stress as possible to prolong their lifespan.