How to change your shock absorbers?

Shock absorbers, car parts that pin it to the ground, have a capital role in road holding and control of the trajectory of the vehicle. They must be checked regularly and replaced when necessary to ensure safety and comfort of the car's occupants. They are often neglected, yet they must be replaced regularly to remain effective.


What is a shock absorber and how does it work?


Shock absorbers keep the wheels in contact with the road even on a degraded surface. They absorb shocks associated with driving on uneven roads to help maintain vehicles' steering and ensure comfort of the occupants. 


They will compensate for vibrations and limit the amplitude of body movements. Without them, a car would not be drivable, and comfort would be reduced to zero. Every hole or bump in the road would be directly reflected back to the steering and would make it almost impossible to drive straight or fast. Shock absorbers are subjected to a lot of mechanical stress and wear out so they must be replaced regularly to maintain effective suspension.


They usually consist of a hollow body containing oil or gas and a rod that will act as a piston. The amount of gas or oil contained in the body of the shock absorber will slow down the movement of the rod and cause the shock to be dampened. The viscosity of the oil or the type of gas will make the suspension more or less hard. 


For passenger comfort, a softer suspension is preferred, while for a more dynamic, sporty ride, a harder suspension is preferred as it will allow for a better road feel and reduced body roll for better handling and more precise steering.


The different types of shock absorbers


While the vast majority of cars use hydraulic shock absorbers coupled to suspension springs according to the driving profile for which they were designed, there are other types of shock absorbers available.


The other best-known type of shock absorber is the hydropneumatic shock absorber, democratised by the French car manufacturer Citroën. Although it tends to disappear. The shock absorber has two chambers, a first one filled with a compressed gas such as air or nitrogen while the second chamber contains a viscous liquid such as oil or mineral hydraulic fluid (LHM). The gas replaces the suspension spring with greater progressiveness.


There are also air shock absorbers that operate with air cushions to maintain a constant height and adjust pressure for a more or less firm ride.


A shock absorber system controlled by a magnetic field is also deployed, usually as an option, by some premium manufacturers. In this case, the fluid containing magnetic particles sees its behaviour vary according to a magnetic field emitted by a coil integrating the body of the shock absorber. This system makes it possible to modify the fluidity of the oil and thus to modify the hardness of the damper on simple request from the on-board computer. 


The most recent vehicles bring their share of innovation and electronics to control damping of the latest generation cars, offering greater comfort and allowing damping parameters to be adjusted according to the use of the day. 


How to change them and at what intervals?


While suspension springs generally last for the life of the car, and overall at least 200,000 km, unless they break due to excessive corrosion or inappropriate use on severely degraded roads, shock absorbers must be replaced regularly.


Typically, replacement intervals range from 60,000 to 100,000 km. This varies according to several parameters, including vehicle weight, shock absorber type, usage, and weather conditions. There is no hard and fast rule, but they should be replaced at the slightest sign of weakness.


Similarly, if the body of the shock absorber leaks oil, it should be replaced promptly. Replacement is always done in pairs. Do not replace a single shock absorber, but always replace both of them on the same axle. Otherwise, the suspension would be out of balance with one wheel with a tired shock absorber and, on the other side, a new and more efficient one. Such an installation would make the vehicle unsafe.


Shock absorber replacement is important to ensure vehicle control and the most effective roadholding. That is why they are subject to a thorough examination during an M.O.T. or similar vehicle inspection. A shock absorber that leaks or fails to perform its function properly makes the vehicle unsafe. If the suspension no longer dampens road imperfections, the car will be unpleasant to drive, sway on its side in curves and become difficult to drive. 


In addition, the pronounced wear of the suspension components will cause rapid and uneven wear of the tires, as they are no longer guided properly. Regular shock absorber replacement should be performed by a professional who has the tools and knowledge to do so. That will ensure safety. In addition, the replacement of shock absorbers requires wheel balancing and therefore the use of specific equipment.


Klaxcar references


Whatever your car, Klaxcar certainly has the right reference. Old or new, your car must be fitted with shock absorbers of the same quality as the original equipment to ensure your safety and comfort in all conditions. 


Specialised in spare car parts for several decades, the company chooses the best materials to manufacture its products. Nothing is left to chance, each part is tested in our in-house laboratory and has a complete test report. 


In addition, Klaxcar carries out numerous quality controls during its process, from manufacturing to delivery to the customer. The company is certified by the German TÜV and has received numerous certifications, a guarantee of quality and professionalism.