Shock Absorbers

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How shock absorbers make up for a safe and comfortable ride

The suspension system plays a vital role when the car is in motion. It helps drivers to have better control over the vehicle and, at the same time, provides a sense of comfort for the passengers. Shock absorbers are key elements in this system regarding both features of a ride. So we need to explain why they are so important and when to look for replacements.

What do we call a shock absorber?

You will find different terms regarding these components within automotive construction. Some will call it dampers, while others might refer to that car part by naming it "strut." There is a mix-up between the terms, but whatever word you use in the shop, they will know what you mean. The shock absorber is indeed technically a damper since it dampens (or softens) the vibration of the surface irregularities. But there are other damper-type components in the car constructions, So it is not that specific to call it that way, even if most people think about the suspension system regarding dampers. 

Struts are shocks where the spring and the absorber are built into one unit. This type is used in many cars, but still, there are lots of makes and models with separate springs and absorbers.

What is the purpose of the shock absorbers in a car?

During the drive, the wheels of the vehicle experience different impacts caused by imperfections of the road. If the suspension system is missing, the control over the car motion will be much more complicated. The risk of accidents increases, and the ride will be much more unpleasant for passengers because they will shake on every bump on the street. So, shock absorbers teaming up with the strings take the significant portions of those impacts and dissipate the kinetic energy into heat. The ride is much safer and more comfortable when the car suspension works properly.

Actually, it is the spring that absorbs the shock of the bumps. The purpose of that spiral component is to hold the wheel on the surface after an impact. But if there are no dampers, there will still be a shaky experience for the people inside. The shock absorbers work with different kinds of fluid, which slows down the vehicle's vertical motion. These suspension components take an excessive amount of pressure, so it is no wonder that they wear down faster than other car parts.

What types of shock absorbers exist?

The car's make and model specify the kind of damper. There are many types of shocks. Here are the most common:

  • Hydraulic
  • Friction type
  • Single or double-acting
  • Lever-type
  • Twin-tube


Usually, there are two cylinders with oil and low-pressure gas in them. The fluids have the role of slowing down the vertical motion of the car.

When do we need to replace the absorbers?

Shock absorbers take a lot of impacts and yet, in normal conditions, are supposed to work for about 50 thousand miles. Anyway, if we experience some of the following, it can be a sign for a replacement:

  • Harder grip over the car stability on the road
  • It takes longer for the vehicle to stop after hitting the brakes
  • The car shakes extensively after going over bumps

Even one of the indications above is enough to ring the bell. We need to check and eventually look for spare parts. We can find such at TDC Automotive with free shipment for the UK mainland. The problems with shock absorbers typically occur when there is a fluid leak. Springs might wear out slower, but if both components make up for one unit (strut), we cannot change only one of them. And when it's time to replace shocks, we need to do it for both wheels of that side of the car (front or rear) experiencing a problem.