The basic purpose of a car’s suspension system is to cushion the vehicle’s body from the uneven road surfaces.
This ensures that both vehicle’s passengers and cargo get the smoothest possible ride. Have you ever imagined driving your vehicle without the dampers, often referred to as shock absorbers? Of course on a smooth, slopping road everything would look fine, but problems would start as one tries to ascend on an uneven road. Here, the vehicle will become quite unstable.
The function of the suspension is to make sure that the vehicle’s wheels remain in contact with the road surface in such a way that the tyres are able to fully grip the ground, thus increasing the stability of the vehicle as well. The suspension also ensures that the front and rear axles are correctly aligned – this is with the 4WD vehicles. Should the axles be misaligned, it would lead to the vehicle’s instability.
The suspension also helps support the weight of the vehicle by way of the suspension springs that are attached to the vehicle. The suspension system, incorporating the springs, is normally fitted with dampers, or shock absorbers. These help dampen out the spring oscillation and reduce the unwanted bounce generated by the vehicle’s springs.
Below are some of the reasons why your shock absorbers could be giving you problems:
Bad driving on bad roads easily damages the shocks and the suspensions. Just because one has installed new shock absorbers in the vehicle shouldn’t warrant them driving badly, racing over every pothole. This really damages the shocks.
Not using genuine shock absorbers. Cheap shock absorbers are available everywhere, even in the big spare parts shops, ready to be sold to people who can’t tell between genuine and the non-genuine shocks. This means that you need an honest mechanic to tell you the difference before buying. You should also bear in mind that genuine shocks are a bit more expensive but last much longer.
Some mechanics dupe their clients into believing their vehicles’ shocks have been replaced. This happens when car owners are not knowledgeable enough when it comes to understanding the basics of a vehicle’s workings and its replacement parts.
Sometimes there is misdiagnosis. Noises that appear to be caused by worn-out shock absorbers are sometimes caused by broken bushes, loose exhaust pipes or broken springs. These tend to knock against other parts or the body of the vehicle, sometimes giving the impression that the noises are caused by damaged shocks. This means one has to be very sure of the source of the noise before proceeding to dismantle anything.
One should be aware that not all mechanics are able to diagnose problems in a vehicle, often leading to car owners unnecessarily spending on spares. Some mechanics still use the trial and error method, and we must be thankful that we now have the diagnostic device with us. Robert Kato is a mechanic who can be reached on: 071-2-2125070704137708.
Source : The Observer