Shock absorbers perform a very important function on your vehicle. One of the main functions of your shock absorbers is to smooth or dampen the ride of your journey. Travelling in a vehicle can become a very uncomfortable journey if you do not have the right shock absorbers.

Like many other parts of your vehicle, your shock absorbers can become worn over time, which will mean they need replacing. It can be a little tricky to know what to look for when it comes to worn out shock absorbers especially when you do not know there uses or where they are on the vehicle. It can be difficult to say how long shock absorbers last as there are a number of variables which will affect the lifespan of your shock absorbers. The make and model of your car along with the mileage you do and the roads you drive on will all have an impact on how worn your shock absorbers become.

What do shock absorbers do?

Very few people actually know what shock absorbers do and how important they are to the safety of your vehicles. To put simply, your shock absorbers are installed during the manufacturing process to eliminate unwanted movement in the car, essentially making your ride much smoother. It does so by controlling the overall movement of the wheels.

The springs will absorb any bumps or drastic changes in the surface of the road. The damper will then control or soften the movement of your car and wheels. The reason they are so essential to your vehicle is that without them you will find that the wheels will bounce uncontrollably whenever you go over a bump in the road.

In essence, the shock absorbers ensure your vehicle stays in contact with the road and means you are less likely to cause an accident everytime you take your car out for a drive. Shock absorbers do vary from car to car and all models will have a different type of shock absorber. If you purchase a more high-end vehicle, the shock absorbers tend to be better quality thus meaning you will hardly feel any lump or bump in the road.

shock absorber mechanism

Types of shock absorbers

There are a variety of shock absorbers available, all of which can be used for a variety of models. Most cars are fitted with manufacturers shock absorbers, but there is a range you can purchase and have fitted by a qualified mechanic to improve the ride of your vehicle.


Standard shock absorbers are those that are fitted by car manufacturers. These will be mainly oil filled and will also have no special features, these types of absorbers provide a comfortable ride and will ensure that the car’s performance is kept in mind when fitted. They will also be relatively good quality and will give you an adequate time frame before they require replacing. When it comes to having these types of shock absorbers they can last a considerable amount of time; however, we always recommend having them checked at around the 40,000 to 50,000 mileage mark.


If you have a smaller vehicle, then the likelihood is your shock absorbers are gas. Much like standard shock absorbers they still use oil to assist with cushioning the oil but will also have a gas chamber which it is sealed with nitrogen gas inside. The gas is put in place to keep the shock absorber from overheating and thining out the oil. Smaller vehicles will often experience more bumping around, so when they do the shock absorbers become hot due to friction, so the gas is there to ensure the shock absorbers last much longer. If you need your gas shock absorbers replacing we recommend taking a look at CarTech1One.

orange shock absorber

Automatic level-control shock

This type of shock absorber is often what will be found on more luxury vehicles. Level control shock absorbers have an air pump which is activated when there is weight distributed in the car when it drives over lumps, bumps or potholes in the road. If you have more then one person in the vehicle or even have a heavier load in the boot, then the air pumps become activated and pressurises the shock absorbers into compensating for this extra load ensuring the ride is as smooth as possible. The air pump is not something you have to turn on; sensors within the vehicle’s suspension often activate it.

How to tell if your shock absorbers need replacing

One of the most obvious ways to tell if your shock absorber is becoming worn is the effectiveness; you will soon start to notice that you will feel every bump. However, as it becomes worse, it can often be hard to tell if it is directly your shock absorbers. You can often inspect them within the wheel arches of your vehicle for any signs of leakage. If you can see any oil stains, then this is a clear sign that they will need replacing. If you do have wear such as those mentioned, then it is an automatic fail when you take your car in for MOT in Milton Keynes. Not all worn shock absorbers leak so we would recommend not solely relying on that as it being time to replace them.

colourful shock absorbers

Another way of checking if your shock absorbers have become worn is to take a close inspection of your tyres. If they are looking slightly worn on one side, or have dimples, this can often be a good indication that you need to replace them.

You should also be aware of unusual noises on your car if you hear any form of screeching or rapid sequences of sound this could be air or oil escaping from the shock absorbers. This noise can also be the sound of the tyre rubbing or hitting against the road.

Shock absorbers are always checked when you book your vehicle in for car servicing in Milton Keynes, which is why we always inform our customers of how vital it is to book in. A car service can often detect an issue before it becomes too late and ruins other parts of your vehicle.

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