The Dangers Of Driving With Worn Shock Absorbers
If you’re driving with old, worn shock absorbers, you could be putting your life at risk. Old shock absorbers can leave you reeling in a dangerous and unpredictable way — in other words, driving with worn-out shock absorbers is like driving drunk. You might not feel it but that could soon change if you continue to drive the same way.
What is a shock absorber?
A shock absorber is a device that converts the kinetic energy of an automobile’s suspension into heat and dissipates it. The shock absorber absorbs the force of bumps in the road, which would otherwise be transmitted to the cabin and cause the vehicle to bounce around.
The shock absorber is a hydraulic device that contains hydraulic fluid and internal components, including pistons and valves. When a bump in the road causes one side of the car to compress, this causes fluid flows through small holes in a piston and into an expansion chamber. The force applied to this piston causes it to move back and forth within its cylinder, compressing or decompressing depending on whether one side or both sides of the car are compressed by bumps in the road. This movement forces hydraulic fluid out through another set of small holes which allows it to expand back into its original volume as it passes through an expansion chamber at one end of its cylinder. A valve inside this chamber allows air bubbles to escape from inside each chamber as they expand back into their original volume; these bubbles can be seen rising up from below when viewing a shock absorber from underneath during use (e.g. when driving down an unpaved road).
Why is it dangerous to drive with worn or damaged shock absorbers?
Have you ever wondered why it’s so important to have your shock absorbers checked regularly?
Shock absorbers help to absorb bumps in the road and keep your car stable. If they’re worn or broken, they can cause a number of problems and put you at risk of an accident.
Here are the top ten dangers associated with worn/broken shock absorbers:
1. Reduced braking ability:
Worn or broken shock absorbers can lead to reduced braking efficiency, which could be a serious safety risk in the event of an emergency braking situation. In addition, worn or broken shock absorbers can cause your vehicle to skid on wet roads. If you need to stop your car quickly, you want surefooted control over your vehicle’s ability to slow down and stop.
2. ABS and ESP lose their efficiency
If your shock absorbers are worn or broken, not only can you be at risk for injury in a car accident, but also your anti-lock braking systems (more commonly known by its acronym ABS) and electronic stability control (generally referred to as ESC or ESP, for Electronic Stability Program) may become less effective.
When the shock absorbers on your vehicle are worn or broken, they lose their ability to dampen vibrations in the suspension system. This means that any bumps in the road will be felt much more acutely by you and your passengers—and they’ll be experienced more often throughout your drive.
This is not only uncomfortable—it can also cause damage to other parts of your vehicle if it’s happening frequently enough. It’s not uncommon for worn or broken shock absorbers to lead to serious problems like bent wheels or cracked frames, which could lead to an expensive repair bill down the line!
3. Increased risk of skidding on wet roads
Worn or broken shock absorbers can cause your vehicle to skid on wet roads, increasing the risk of a serious accident.
The shocks on your car are designed to help control the bouncing movement of the vehicle when it travels over bumps, potholes and uneven surfaces. Worn or broken shocks can cause this movement to be uncontrolled, which increases the risk of skidding.
4. Aquaplaning occurs at lower speeds
Worn or broken shock absorbers can cause a dangerous situation called aquaplaning.
Aquaplaning occurs when the water pressure between the tire and the road exceeds the friction between the tire and the road. This is most likely to happen at lower speeds, so it’s important to keep your car in good repair and make sure that your tires are properly inflated.
5. Less control in windy conditions or when caught in a crosswind
Worn or broken shock absorbers can be dangerous in windy conditions or when caught in a crosswind. The wear and tear on the shock absorbers will cause your vehicle to ride lower, which means less control over the car and a greater risk of skidding or flipping over.
6. Increased driver tiredness and passenger discomfort
Worn or broken shock absorbers can not only make your car ride bumpier, but they can also make it more dangerous.
If your shock absorbers are worn or broken, the car’s suspension will be less effective. This means that your vehicle will bounce around more while you’re driving, which can be particularly fatiguing if you have to drive long distances in a short period of time. It also means that your passengers will feel more jittery than usual and might become uncomfortable as a result.
- Increased wear and tear of tyres and other suspension parts
If your car’s shock absorbers are worn or broken, it can result in increased wear and tear of your tyres and other suspension components. This can lead to expensive repairs, as well as loss of control over your car.
Always check your shock absorbers
When you’re driving, your shocks help to keep your car stable and smooth. They absorb the impact of bumps in the road and help to prevent your car from bouncing around too much.
Shock absorbers gradually deteriorate over time, so you might not notice when your car starts to skid a bit more or take longer to brake—seeing as you might just compensate for the gradual change.
If you notice any of the following symptoms, it’s time to get your shocks checked:
- You notice your car is more difficult to get around corners.
- Poor handling when the roads are wet or uneven.
- Try a bounce test—if your car oscillates more than once when a downward force is applied to its bonnet, your shocks are worn out!
- Visually check for oil leakage near the shocks and if your tyres have an uneven wear pattern.
Next time your car feels difficult to handle when braking or cornering, be sure to find your nearest Midas service centre or get in contact with us to ensure it’s fixed ASAP.
At Midas, we know that your safety is our number one priority—and that means making sure your car is at its best performance all the time. That’s why we can help you get back on the road quickly and safely after an issue like this occurs.