It’s important to remember that only four postcard sized areas of your tyres are ever in contact with the road. It’s up to your shocks to maximise tyre contact with the road to improve grip and control. Suspension is always in use and, as such, suffers from general wear and tear, eventually losing ability to function properly.
From a crucial safety perspective, worn shock absorbers can increase your stopping distance by up to 20%. This means that the faster you are travelling, the longer distance you will require to come to a complete stop. In emergency situations, this can make a huge difference.
Here are some tell-tale signs that your shocks need to be replaced:
Swerving & nose dives
Does your car swerve or dip forward when braking? If so, you most likely need to get your shock absorbers checked. Swerving and dipping while braking decreases your control over the vehicle and is especially dangerous in wet weather. (Also, if mild winds cause your car to veer off course or slide across lanes then it’s probably time to get a check-up.)
Vibrations & rattling
Do you feel vibrations through the steering wheel while you’re driving? If you’re tyres have proper contact with the road then you shouldn’t. Be cautious at high speed as the vibrations can intensify. If you are driving over uneven surfaces, such as bumps or railway tracks, and your car is rattling or rocking this is another sign that you should also have your shocks inspected.
Uneven tyre wear
Have you noticed bald patches or uneven wear on your tyres? This usually means that your tyres aren’t making optimal contact with the road and some tyres are under more pressure than others.
Uneven tyre wear can be a symptom of worn shocks. Rather be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to tyres!
The wear and tear that your shocks accumulate is a gradual process, so it can be difficult to identify when they are no longer doing their job correctly. But, when you have them replaced, you should immediately feel the improvement. Safe travels.