Steering & Suspension: Suspension Systems: Suspension system procedures
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Topic IntroductionHelp

Checking shock absorbers

Summary
Shock absorbers and struts are located near each wheel and protect the passenger compartment from bumps. Many of today's vehicles are equipped with strut type suspension instead of conventional shock absorbers, but testing either system involves the same procedure. The objective of this procedure is to show you how to check the serviceability of the shock absorbers and struts.

Part 1. Preparation and safety

Objective

Shcok absorbers

Personal safety

Whenever you perform a task in the workshop you must use personal protective clothing and equipment that is appropriate for the task and which conforms to your local safety regulations and policies. Among other items, this may include:

If you are not certain what is appropriate or required, ask your supervisor.

Safety check

Points to note


Part 2: Step-by-step instruction

  1. Check shock absorbers and struts
    The simplest form of suspension test is known as a “bounce” test. Lean heavily on the fender or place your weight on a bumper. Release it suddenly and watch what happens. If the vehicle rebounds continually, you need to replace the shock absorbers. If the shock absorbers are performing well, the car will rebound once only, and then slowly return to its original position. While driving, the same test can be performed by stopping the vehicle suddenly from a very low speed. If the car “bounces” up and down a couple of times when coming to rest, you need to replace the shock absorbers.
  2. Visually inspect shock absorbers
    Visually inspect the shock absorber mounting points for security and corrosion and note any wet looking patches on the sides of the shock absorbers. This is a common indicator that the strut or shock absorber needs replacing because of a fluid leak.
  3. Check strut upper mounting
    Pay particular attention to the top strut mounting during the bounce test. Place your hand on top of the mounting during the bounce test. Any noise or movement in the mounting could indicate the need to replace the component. If you do feel movement, hear noise or see signs of leakage, report it to your supervisor.