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Basically, all shock absorbers perform 2 functions They dampen the oscillations of the springs ( both coil and leaf type ) or the twisting action of torsion bars. That is they control the movements of the above forms of suspension springs found in all 4WD vehicles and they keep your tyres in contact with the road surface.

They do not help to support the weight of the vehicle or effect the ride height of the vehicle (apart from the high pressure Bilstein shocks which can raise a light vehicle by up to 5mm).

Shock absorbers are basically an oil pump with a restrictor valve. They control the springs rate of travel through both it’s compression and rebound stages of each suspension stroke. The compression and rebound valves inside the hydraulic fluid filled shock body slow down the spring’s movement and in this way they ‘control’ the springs on your 4WD.

The amount of resistance a shock offers depends on the speed of the spring and the size and number of orifices in the valves of the shock. Shock absorbers are velocity sensitive damping devices and the faster the suspension moves the more resistance the shock absorbers provide. It is this feature that allows shocks to adjust to the given road conditions.


A vehicle with good shock absorbers fitted will have less:


When the springs and shock absorbers are in good condition, the vehicle’s suspension will allow the vehicle’s body to ride over rough surfaces with a minimum of disturbance to the occupants of the vehicle. It also allows the vehicle to corner with a minimum amount of roll or sway, be able to stop with a minimum amount of brake dive and control acceleration squat. Therefore, the control that good shocks offer will help to keep the tyres in contact with the road surface and give you the best possible level of grip as long as your tyres are in good order and condition.

A vehicle with worn or poor quality shock absorbers will be unsafe and can bounce and pitch excessively, roll and sway excessively, nose dive steeply under brakes loosing rear tyre contact and allowing the wheels to bounce as well as excessively squatting under acceleration. All of which leave you and your passengers in a very vulnerable, unsafe position.

There are 2 basic designs of shock absorbers in the market today – the TWIN TUBE or the MONO TUBE designs. Both do a similar job in different ways. All mono tube shocks are Gas Pressurised at a high gas pressure . Twin tube shocks can be of 3 variations - the straight Hydraulic shock, the Low Pressure Gas Charged shock and the Foam Cell or Cellular Gas shock. Both of the last 2 do a similar job in different ways. The 3 various Shock absorber types are: TELESCOPIC, MACPHERSON STRUT (STRUT) & COIL-OVER SHOCKS.

Good shock absorbers along with good tyres and good brakes form what is known as the Safety Triangle as these are the 3 most important safety items fitted to every 4WD vehicle!

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