Shock Absorber Replacement
For most, shocks are one of the more easily identifiable parts of your vehicle. As the name suggests, car shock absorbers reduce the shock the suspension receives when the vehicle traverses rough or uneven road surfaces. These devices deliver improved handling and a smoother ride by converting the kinetic energy of suspension movement during the drive into heat energy that dissipates through the hydraulic fluid in the shocks.
Driving on busted shock absorbers is neither safe nor comfortable. If your oil often leaks and routine stops leave your car bobbing like a buoy in rough seas-shock absorber replacement might be the answer.
The longevity of your shock absorber set will depend greatly on your driving routine. If you frequently drive along smooth, unobstructed and level surface, then your vehicle isn't likely to experience much wear and tear. Curves or a stop-and-go traffic, send a lot more movement running through your car shock absorber. Add gravel, hills and other road conditions to the mix and the typical 50,000 mile life expectancy diminishes proportionately.
As with all vehicle maintenance projects, this might be a job better left to a professional mechanic. However, if you're well equipped and understand the task at hand, it's very possible to install a car shock absorber in your home garage.
Symptoms of a Faulty Car Shock Absorber
To test your system, it's suggested that you take your vehicle out to an empty parking lot, accelerate to 10 miles per hour and hit the brakes. If the front of your vehicle keeps bobbling after you come to a stop, then a shock absorber replacement is likely in order.
- Vehicle feels uneven over bumps
- Vehicle continues to bounce long after driving over a bump
- Knocking noises
- Oil leaking from shocks
- Worn shock bushings
- Uneven tire wear
Shock Absorber Sets for Cars
It's advised that shock absorber replacement be done in pairs, front and/or rear. Some shock absorbers for cars also house an air bladder that controls the vehicle's ride height, either manually or automatically.
First, you'll want to consider what kind of shocks to install. Essentially, there are only two choices: stick with the original, OEM, equipment installed by the manufacturer or upgrade to aftermarket shock absorbers. If you're just looking for something that works, the former choice likely suits you best-it might also behoove you to take your vehicle to a professional mechanic. However if you're a car enthusiast, and do choose to upgrade, trading in your old shocks for aftermarket models can offer improved vehicle performance and longer part life.
Whichever route you choose, you can expect to spend between $20 and a $120 on each new shock. Always be sure that your new shocks will match up with your vehicle's make, model and year, because shock absorber sets for cars are not one size fits all. The shocks for an SUV will look very different than those designed for a compact car. Don't forget to check out the BuyAutoParts.com website for how-to videos on all your DIY shock absorber replacement needs!