How do you recognize broken shock absorbers?

Shock absorbers are more important for driving safety than you might think: Their job is not directly to absorb shocks and make driving more comfortable. Rather, the shock absorbers dampen the vibrations of the springs and thus ensure that the tires always have sufficient ground contact. Defective shock absorbers therefore reduce traction, braking distance and driving stability.

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It is difficult to check shock absorbers for defects yourself: if at all, you can only identify completely defective shock absorbers. If it is only about damage, it is better to ask the workshop for help. Nevertheless, these tips may help:

Does the vehicle vibrate unusually?
A defective shock absorber can be recognized by unusually strong vibrations. To do this, you can force all corners of the vehicle down to see if one corner vibrates more than the others, which indicates a defective shock absorber.

Are the tires worn unevenly & are there traces of oil on the shock absorber?
If the profile of a tire is not evenly worn, this can mean a defective shock absorber. Traces of oil on the shock absorber can also indicate a defect during a visual inspection – however, not every broken shock absorber loses oil or works with gas instead.

Often difficult to determine based on driving behavior
You can actually feel defective shock absorbers in the spongy handling and rumbling when driving on uneven roads – however, a defective shock absorber is a gradual process that the driver may hardly notice over the years. An unusually strong inclination when braking and steering are also a signal for a possible defect.

Installation must be carried out by a specialist workshop!
An actual test and the change should always be carried out by a specialist workshop. Shock absorbers are a safety-relevant part and installation requires a high level of knowledge and experience. If you want to save money, you should follow our recommendation and get the spare parts yourself and bring them to the workshop you trust. Shock absorbers are available online from around €25. As always, when ordering online, you have to make sure that you order exactly the right parts for your vehicle.

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Shock absorber (in the spring) of a 5 series BMW

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