SACHS highlights consequences of defective shocks

sachs-jan19Recent analyses by SACHS has shown that in Germany, approximately one in seven tested vehicles has at least one defective shock absorber. Drivers are often unaware of a problem, but it can have serious consequences.

For cars with either worn or defective shocks, including cars with an electronically adjustable chassis, there are various risks. The stopping distance becomes longer because the car's road contact is no longer optimally ensured. Many electronic advanced driver assistance systems – such as the ESP electronic stability program, ABS or traction control – require good contact of the wheels with the road to be able to develop their full potential. This therefore means that the more electronic safety systems are installed in the car, the more important it is to ensure the full performance of the shocks. That is why maintenance and regular inspection is important.

Defective shocks reduce the brake force and mean the stopping distance increases by up to 20%, depending on speed, vehicle systems and road surface. This can be as much as 6 meters for speeds up to 80 km/h.

A further issue is that if the shocks no longer prevent the car body from pitching and vibrating, then it is more difficult to control the vehicle during avoidance manoeuvres. The cars cornering ability also becomes generally unstable and the car is also more prone to aquaplaning.

In addition, shock wear has a negative impact in other areas. For example, tyres and chassis components such as tie rod ends or steering devices are exposed to greater wear, something that can be costly for the motorist.

Oil leaking is a clear sign of a defective shock. However, it can be defective even without a visible oil leak.

SACHS recommends a professional inspection of all shocks whenever a car is in the workshop. If in any doubt replacement in pairs is always the best course of action.