Friday 6 May 2016

More Than Comfort - Understanding Shocks and Struts

Posted by at 10:25 AM

More Than Comfort - Understanding Shocks and Struts

When most people think about their shocks and struts, they think about how comfortable their vehicle rides. However shocks and struts play a larger role in overall vehicle performance. 

Shocks and struts are a critical part of steering, stopping, and vehicle stability. Additionally, properly maintained shocks and struts can prevent premature tire wear and reduce wear on other suspension components. 

Shocks and struts play a significant role in driving safety, according to automotive industry experts. These ride control components help promote consistent, firm tire traction by absorbing road-induced impacts and reducing vehicle pitch and roll. The conditions of a vehicles shocks and struts can also affect the performance of the interrelated safety components and systems, including brakes, tire and steering linkage parts. 

"Many vehicle owners might not know that shocks or struts could increase their stopping distance and make it more difficult to steer around an obstacle in an emergency situation," said the director of product management for Tenneco Inc's Monroe brand. "That's why periodic ride control inspections are so important" 

So how exactly do shocks and struts help a vehicle stop?

Braking performance relies on much more than just the brake system. Shock absorbers, struts and chassis components also play big roles in helping you avoid accidents. 

Safe braking depends on consistent, firm contact between your tires and the road. Worn shocks and/or struts, in particular, can prevent this secure contact by allowing your vehicles wheels to "hop" after hitting a pothole, bump or other hazard. 

The primary job of a shock absorber or strut is to provide resistance to the wheel's natural tendency to bounce away from road impacts. These components also help limit the transfer of vehicle weight from the rear of the front wheels in hard-braking situations. This helps balance the weight over all four wheels for shorter stopping distance and improved stability. 

What causes Shocks to wear?

Its estimated that shocks and struts provide an average of 21 million stabilizing actions every 12,000 miles. This normal wear and tear is often exacerbated by road hazards such as potholes. Steering and suspension inspections should take place annually, or every 12,000 miles by an ASE certified technician, according to CarCare.org. Inspections are usually paired with a wheel alignment. 

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