Dampers are exposed to greater loads than any other car components. They ensure the wheel grip on the road. They also damp the swinging of the suspension when driving on uneven surfaces and prevent the wheels from jumping and loosing grip. Dampers begin to lose their properties after 60,000 - 80,000 kilometres.
**What role does a shock absorber play?
A shock absorber is an important component that ensures a wheel's grip of the surface. It limits the movement of the suspension while driving on an uneven surface and prevents wheels from bouncing and losing grip. Just like many other car parts, a shock absorber wears out and requires replacing.
How is a MacPherson strut shock absorber replaced?
Depending on the car, a shock absorber may be integrated with the suspension spring. If this is the case, the shock absorber assembly is referred to as the MacPherson strut. Replacing a shock absorber requires lifting the car, removing the wheel, unscrewing the mount holding the shock absorber to the knuckle, and unscrewing the upper mount of the MacPherson strut. The strut is then taken out and disassembled. The spring is tightened by means of a compressor in order facilitate its removal. The upper mount is removed, along with the pad and the bearing allowing the front wheels to turn. A new shock absorber is provided with a new spring, an upper bearing and a pad. After the spring is released, the strut is fitted back in place.
What to keep in mind?
A new shock absorber should be provided with a new piston rod cover and a new buffer. A good idea is also to change the upper pad and the bearing to avoid their failure and having to disassemble the MacPherson strut again. After replacing a shock absorber you should also check wheel alignment in order to make sure that your car operates properly and to prevent the tyres from wearing too fast.
Even if only one shock absorber on an axle fails, you should have them both replaced. It is difficult to tell the useful life of a shock absorber as it depends on the way you use your car, but on average, shock absorbers lose their properties after approximately 100 thousand kilometres. You can have them checked on a diagnostic path at a vehicle inspection station.