Shocks are a key component of your vehicle’s suspension system. They cushion the ride, absorb impacts, and keep the tires in contact with the road. This article will answer some common questions related to automotive shocks, including how long shocks last and what are the signs of bad shocks.
Shocks, otherwise known as shock absorbers, help to absorb travel shocks. They absorb impact energy, thereby reducing shock to the vehicle’s passengers. Shocks are simple devices made of a number of components that include one or more piston chambers, pistons, shafts, bearings , etc.
Tires are another component of your vehicle’s suspension system that are affected by shocks. When you hit a bump in the road, the undulations of the road cause vibration through your vehicle’s chassis. That’s why a good pair of shocks is important. It’s the job of the shocks to lessen that vibration through your vehicle’s chassis.
What is a Shock Absorber Used For?
Shock absorbers are used primarily to cushion a vehicle’s suspension system. They absorb the impact energy from the wheels and distribute it to the suspension system, chassis, and tires. Shock absorbers can also dampen vibrations from engine or transmission components.
It’s easy to tell when a shock absorber isn’t doing its job. A vehicle with bad shocks will ride like a bumpy, instant roller coaster. Bad shocks negatively affect the performance of your tires and can cause damage to other suspension system components such as struts or coil springs.
Shocks create a force that resists and dampens the movement of the vehicle body. When you hit a bump in the road, shocks absorb and dissipate the energy from those bumps to enhance ride comfort and smoothness.
Another important function shocks provide is to support the weight of your vehicle as it travels down your typical street or highway. They serve as an essential component of your suspension system by supporting the weight of the vehicle.
What Causes Shocks To Break?
There are many causes for shocks to break, from physics resisting impact with large jerk, excessive heat from direct sunlight or heat from the engine bay, and lack of lubrication over time. However, there is a more common cause that occurs once all others have been ruled out: a broken coil spring.
How Long Do Shocks Last?
In general, shocks last around 50,000 to 100,000 miles before they need to be replaced, assuming they are being maintained properly. This range of mileage is dependent on so many factors including mileage driven, car type, style of driving, and other variables.
The longevity of shocks is also affected by how long the shocks have been used. If you compare the performance of shocks that were only used for one week with those that lasted much longer; then the difference in performance will be quite large.
The factors that have the biggest impact include the shock’s lubrication, the shocks material strength, and other environmental factors like excessive heat. If any of these factors are at risk for longer than normal, it will certainly increase the chances of the shock breaking or getting hit hard enough to break.
For example, if you own a Jeep then you know that that shock absorbers play an important part in your driving experience; especially off-roading.
Another factor to consider is the. Weather conditions can also affect the performance of shocks because they are made of materials that will get brittle when exposed to extreme temperatures; especially in winter. Moisture will also build up inside your shocks and may cause them to corrode and rust over time.
Shocks that are made of polymer and aluminum and aren’t well-maintained will fail much sooner than those made of stainless steel. The overall design of the shock, such as the casing, also matters because it provides structure for the internal components to work with.
For instance, a shock made from solid steel (not hollow) will last much longer than one that is made from plastic or aluminum. It’s a good idea to regularly inspect your shocks , including the condition of the shock oil, for optimal performance.
A vehicle with less than 50,000 miles on it may have to replace the shocks before they reach 50,000 miles if they were poorly made to start. It’s also important to understand how often you are driving your vehicle to determine whether or not you need new shocks at a certain mileage benchmark.
Do Shocks Go Bad with Age?
Yes, shocks do wear out over time. The life span of a shock can be affected by other factors that we’ve discussed such as how long the shocks have been used and what type of parts they’re made of.
Typically, you can expect shocks to last around 50,000 to 100,000 miles. That can vary depending on other factors. For instance, if you are driving on rough roads every day then that will have a significant impact on the life of your shocks.
An exception to this rule is if your shocks were made from stainless steel and built with a solid structure compared to aluminum or plastic. Again, it comes down to what kind of shock you’re driving and manufacturer specifications.
However, there is a more common cause: a broken coil spring. This is something that occurs once all other signs of bad shocks have been ruled out and should be diagnosed as early as possible before one or multiple coils break.
What are the Signs of Bad Shocks?
Some signs of bad shocks include bouncing, excessive clearance between the shock body and suspension springs, excessive corrosion around the shock body, fluid leaking from your shock(s), and broken coil springs.
A bumpy ride will also give a warning sign that shocks aren’t working correctly. If your vehicle isn’t going down the road as smoothly as it should, then it is possible you have bad shocks.
Look for irregular tire wear, any unusual noises, and reduced handling. This would indicate your shocks are wearing out and need to be replaced.
How Often do Shocks Need to be Replaced?
Shocks need to be replaced if you notice unusual wear on the tires, if you hear a lot of rattling noises, and if there is a loud banging sound when changing directions.
You should also check your shocks after hitting bumps in the road to see if the body of the shock is making contact with the springs. It’s also important to inspect your shock mounts for cracks or leaks.
Shocks are fairly easy to replace. They are just a few bolts away from being lifted out of your vehicle. However, you need to know which parts you need to replace and how they are attached before you attempt the job yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do shocks last on a truck?
On a truck, shocks will last around 50,000 miles. That doesn’t mean that they will last the entire life of the truck, but it does give you an idea of how long you can expect to own your truck before replacing the shocks.
How do I fix my shocks?
Shocks are usually fairly easy to replace. You need to know which parts you need to order and how they are attached before attempting the job yourself.
Do shocks go bad if you’re not using the vehicle?
Unfortunately, yes. While the shock may not wear out while it isn’t being used, it can still become less effective. Also, shocks that are exposed to moisture or extreme heat will wear down much faster than normal because the materials are at risk of becoming corroded over time.
What if my shocks are leaking?
If your shocks are leaking, then you need to take them off and replace them for optimal performance. It’s a good idea to regularly inspect the shocks for a leaking problem because a leaking shock can be a sign of a more serious problem with your vehicle’s suspension.
What are the signs of bad shocks?
If your ride is going down the road abnormally or you hear rattling noises, then that is a sign that shocks may need to be replaced. You should also check your shocks after hitting bumps in the road to see if the body of the shock is making contact with the springs. Finally, look for irregular tire wear and reduced handling as another warning sign.
Do You need to replace all 4 shocks at once?
It’s a good idea to replace pairs of shocks at the same time. This means that if you have to replace one shock from the front, then it’s ideal to do both.
You should wait until both are bad before replacing them. It’s also important to replace both at the same time so they are paired correctly. If you have different brands or sizes of shocks on your car, then pairing them means they will work in unison with each other when being compressed or expanding.