Shock absorbers are as safety-critical as airbags, brakes and the tread on a car’s tyres. But because the driver cannot see that their shocks are worn, it is a case of out of site out of mind.
In South Africa it is estimated that 50% of cars older than five years on the road have worn shock absorbers, but drivers don’t know this because they gradually adjust their driving to compensate for the extra roll or bounce
“A worn shock will reduce the driver’s ability to control the vehicle. In an emergency, there could be an accident that otherwise could have been avoided,” says Sean Staley, Gabriel brand manager at Control Instruments.
Staley says the average age of vehicles in South Africa is more than 12 years, and shocks become less effective after about three years.
“Worn shocks wont keep your wheels glued to the road, no matter how new your tyres are.”
“A worn shock absorber will cause the tyre to bounce creating worn or bald spots,” says Staley.
“In an emergency situation, applying brakes can make the tyre to loose contact with the road, increasing the chance of an accident.”
Braking on wet roads, even with good tyres, will cause tyres to bounce and loose grip. The vehicle will skid more easily in the wet. In strong cross winds, there is less control when cornering and the efficiency of anti-lock braking systems (ABS) and the vehicle’s electronic stability control (ESP) capabilities are reduced.
Worn shocks will also cause suspension wear. Excessive spring movement on the vehicle will make the vehicle more difficult to handle.
And during festive seasons, a tired driver is a dangerous driver. Overall, worn shocks will require that the driver concentrate more on keeping the car on the road.
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(Credit to: arrivealive.co.za - ARRIVE ALIVE)