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Shock absorbers help a driver experience a smooth ride on a bumpy surface. They help the driver to have control of the vehicle. Just like the other replaceable components of your car, shock absorbers also wear and lose the ability to perform their function properly. Due to their long performance and little need of service, shock absorbers are in many cases forgotten when the vehicle is taken to a mechanic for a general service and they are likely to end up being damaged completely. Below are some of the signs of a failing shock absorber. Understanding the symptoms will help you figure out the source of the problem and hence make an informed decision before it’s too late.

Signs Of A Failing Shock Absorber

Uneven Wear Appearing on Tires

Shocks assist in keeping the tires firmly grounded. When your shocks are worn, they can’t perform this function. The result will be patchy areas of wear because the treads wont rub away evenly. To perform as the manufacturer intended, tires must maintain uniform contact with the ground. Uneven tire wear is a red flag and can increase your risk of hydroplaning and leave you more prone to a sudden flat.

Vibrations in your Steering Wheel

A little vibration in your steering wheel on uneven road surface is not bad but the vibration should go away as soon as you reach a smooth road surface. If the vibrations continue, it might be a sign that there is a problem with your shocks. Shocks have a fluid. When this fluid inside the valve or piston seal leaks, it causes an overreaction with every tiny bump. This needs immediate redress because the shaking could be intense at high speeds, leading to losing ability to control the car.

Delayed Response Of Brakes

A mess with the shocks will result in more time taken by your vehicle to respond to the brakes. The stopping distance can go as much as 20%. This means that if your car used to stop at no more than two feet before properly stopping, a defective shock can cause it to cover more distance after hitting the brake. Such a problem needs immediate repair because it can cause fatal accidents. A diagnosis should be able to identify whether the problem is low brake fluid or worn out shocks.


Unusual noises such as rattling or rocking could be another tell-tell sign of failing shock absorbers. A heavily worn shock will actually result to so much noise that you will get deaf. Your drive will feel highly uncomfortable. Besides, such massive shaking and rattling will put pressure on other car components leading to them wearing out faster than necessary.

Swerving Nose Dipping While Braking

This happens when you have severe shock problem. the front end dips noticeably or, worse yet, swerves. It can even make the driver lose control of the car especially in wet weather. This happens when the fluid in the valve or piston leaks through the seal, the slightest pressure on the brake results in extreme piston movement within the cylinder. Swerving happens when the weight of the car shifts to the opposite direction of your turn. A nose dip happens when the weight swings in front more than what is normal at the time of braking.


Take your car for check up should you notice any of these symptoms. Have shock absorbers checked together with other related problems with brake rotors or tire alignment. If not addressed quickly, note that bad shocks will surely make your ride uncomfortable harm your back or worse yet, lead to an accident.

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By Editor Car Xperts Reloaded

Car Xperts Reloaded is run by highly experienced auto-engineers and auto-bloggers with many years of motor industry workings and passionate about all things related to cars and automotive. Our goal is to provide readers with useful and interesting information, so that they can make informed decisions when purchasing or maintaining their cars. We are open to suggestions and feedback, and excited to be part of the automotive blogging community!

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