Shock absorber life – wear, defects and possible consequences

Shock absorbers are among the safety-relevant components on vehicles and at the same time wear parts. If wear and tear gets out of hand, this not only has a negative impact on driving comfort. Driving safety is also declining. How long shock absorbers usually last and how a defect can be identified is arranged in this guide.


Shock absorber lifespan? What are the signs of wear and tear?

Shock absorbers have a significant impact on the driving experience. They absorb shocks that occur when driving on the ground and quickly return the unsprung vehicle mass to its starting position. In order to ensure safe handling, shock absorbers reduce the vibrations. Defects in the shock absorber are primarily caused by a high mileage and the associated wear and tear. Bumps, damage to the road surface and general material fatigue cause problems for vehicle technology. But an accident can also be to blame for defects.

There are several signs of worn shock absorbers. “Squeaky shock absorbers primarily affect mechanical suspensions such as leaf springs. The only remedy here is to lubricate the components or use new spare parts,” is the recommendation of the Internet specialist dealer DAPARTO, who compares the prices of vehicle parts from leading manufacturers and reputable dealers. A search function can be used to find shock absorbers for all vehicles in the shop. A vehicle selection ensures that only products that are compatible with the car end up in the shopping cart. Rumble noises are also a sign of a defect. In addition to acoustic signals, the following factors indicate wear or damage:

  • oil: Shock absorbers can leak, causing oil to escape. This in turn leads to noise and negative effects on driving behavior.
  • tires: Tires down or shock absorbers defective? This question is perfectly valid. If a shock absorber is no longer efficient, this can lead to uneven tire wear and thus cause follow-up costs due to tire replacement.
  • ringing: Because the vibrations are no longer sufficiently reduced, the car vibrates unusually strongly.

What are the effects of defective shock absorbers?

In general, defective shock absorbers are noticeable in a noticeably worse driving behavior. The vehicle is no longer on the road as usual, is less easy to control and the braking distance is longer. In an emergency, there is a risk of a complete loss of control. The safety risk should therefore not be underestimated.

tip: Damaged shock absorbers are immediately and always in pairs per axis exchange. The timely change prevents consequential damage to other vehicle parts that can cause worn shock absorbers. A repair is often not possible and not recommended because of the safety relevance. Because the removal and installation requires special tools and know-how, the work should be commissioned from a specialist.

Trust is good, control is better

In order to prevent accidents and promote perfect driving behavior, the functionality of the shock absorbers is checked regularly. When buying a new car, it is advisable to take a look at the wear and tear after the first 80,000 kilometers at the latest. In the case of used cars, it makes sense to have them checked by a specialist workshop immediately before or after purchase in order to identify potential weak points. Inferior shock absorbers sometimes only last 50,000 kilometers or even less. High-quality branded parts, on the other hand, double that.

The Bavarian State Ministry for the Environment and Consumer Protection advises the shock absorbers every 20,000 kilometers to be checked out by a professional. Earlier in the case of frequent high loads or older vehicles. The check is particularly important before longer vacation trips with plenty of luggage on board and in the case of “additional load due to additional loads on the vehicle roof or by towing a trailer”, according to author Thomas Pertsch (Government of Upper Franconia, Trade Inspectorate) in the consumer portal VIS Bayern on the subject of safety risks shock absorber. Drivers can find more travel tips here in the overview.

Protect shock absorbers – extend service life

With an adapted driving behavior, the shock absorbers can be protected. On bad roads with potholes, for example, driving slowly is an advantage so that the parts are not unnecessarily affected. If holes and other bumps can be bypassed without endangering other road users, this also contributes to extending the service life. The speed should generally be adapted to the road conditions. Because: The faster you drive, the greater the load on damping vehicle parts.

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