If your truck has covered more than 60,000 miles, or if you have started to notice a decrease in your comfort or handling whilst driving, you may be in need of new shock absorbers. Buying parts for your truck can be difficult, especially if you don’t know what a part does, or how to tell if it needs to be replaced. This article will help to explain exactly what they do and how they work.
What Does a Shock Absorber Do?
These absorbers reduce the bounce you get when you hit a bump or drive under difficult road conditions; they are what help smooth out your ride. This is great for comfort, but more importantly it keeps your tires on the ground, which improves your control and handling. This also affects your steering and braking. As a result, shock absorbers make your truck not only more comfortable to drive, but also safer.
In addition to a reduction in the truck bounce, shocks can help in reducing the roll or sway when changing lanes or managing tight curves and bends. They also help prevent excessive reduction in performance with brake dive (when the front end dips during braking) and acceleration squat (when the truck rear end dips during acceleration).
How Do They Work?
Wheel bounce causes the piston in the shock absorbers to force oil through a valve, which absorbs energy to reduce the bounce or rebound effects. All of this takes place within a tube that houses a piston rod and compression valve. Steel discs and springs help vary the speed the valve moves at across different road conditions. The more intense the bounce, the more compression within the shock.
All of this compression produces energy in the form of heat. The oil within the absorber is designed to keep the performance consistent, even though the temperature changes. The oil is sealed within the absorber and is protected from dirt and other contaminants with a shield.
Under extreme conditions, the molecules in the air and oil can separate. This is called foaming. Foaming can adversely affect performance and handling on the road. To prevent this, premium shock absorbers add a nitrogen gas within the tube. Thus, gas pressure shock absorbers add a level of performance and safety to your truck.
When Do Shock Absorbers Need to Be Replaced?
The life expectancy of a shock absorber is dependent on the number of miles your truck has been driven, and the conditions those miles were under. City driving on straight level highways will cause less wear and tear than country off-roading with many bumps and turns. Here are a few signs that your shocks need to be replaced.
Mileage – Is your truck’s mileage over 60,000?
Bounce – Do you notice three or more bounces when you hit a bump while driving? As an alternative, press a corner of your truck while it is parked on level ground, and note whether it bounces more than once.
Excessive rolling – Does your truck roll uncomfortably when turning or braking?
Visual – Do you notice any leaks or stains on your shocks?
If you’re the kind of person who keeps his/her truck for many years, and you want to keep it in top condition, consider replacing or upgrading your shock absorbers today. Shock absorbers are one of many considerations with regards to buying parts for your truck, and buying these will improve both the safety and performance of your vehicle.