How to check shock absorbers

2013-1-8 15:57:46

Instructions

1.Test-drive the vehicle. This test should be conducted in a low-traffic area or empty parking lot to review maneuverability and handling. The test should include accelerating quickly to determine if the rear sags for more than a few seconds. Apply the brakes hard to determine if the front nosedives for more than a few seconds. Take hard turns to diagnose if the cornering of the vehicle creates excessive rocking motion and lack of stability. Drive on a dirt or bumpy road or parking lot to ascertain if the shocks or struts bottom out with audible clunking noises when hitting obstacles in the road.

2.Park the vehicle on level ground and turn it off. Apply the parking brake. Approach the rear of the vehicle and place your knee on the bumper or both hands on the back of the vehicle and push it to ground as hard as you can. Jounce the rear suspension three times and then let go. Count the amount of rebound movements the vehicle makes. Any more than two rebound movements and the shocks should be replaced. Repeat this procedure for the front suspension.

3.Visually inspect each shock. If necessary, lift the quarter panel of the vehicle, one at a time, using a floor jack and jack stand. Employ a drop-light or flashlight to help you see if necessary. Check the shaft of the shock or strut for oily wetness or caked-on dirt. Shocks contain hydraulic oil or gas and can sometimes leak out of a spent shock. Because of its oily consistency, dirt and grime can sometimes cover the oil and mask the leaking appearance. Check the upper and lower shock mounts and bushings for unusual wear. Upper mounts and bushings include rubber between metal contacts. When the rubber wears out, it can cause the metal eyelet of the shock or bearing plate of the strut to strike the metal of the tower when demand is placed on the suspension. Check all four corners of the vehicle.

4.Inspect the tires for uneven wear. Weak suspension components can cause excessive bounce when traveling. This transfers onto the tires and creates a feathering or cupping of the tread. Run your hand over the tread in each direction. If the tire is wearing evenly, you will not feel resistance of feathering or cupping wear.