winter landscape

Have your wheels changed and your shocks checked

Defective shocks: Negative impact on traction, braking distance and aquaplaning

We do not know about your ride but many cars are much older than 10 years. After a decade, they typically have 150,000 kilometres or even more on the clock. And as we know from our own experience that is bound to have an effect on even the strongest shock absorbers. After all, their piston rods will have moved back and forth around 75 million times by that point. If the wear and tear is too advanced, it will soon become dangerous when autumn sets in. That is when rainfall, ground frost and, later on, snowfall can be particularly frequent.

This is how the danger becomes apparent for you: when making turning and evasive manoeuvres, defective shock absorbers increase the risk of the vehicle swerving easily because the tyres quickly lose traction. In addition, the braking distance increases by up to 20 per cent, the risk of aquaplaning rises and electronic assistance systems like ABS and ESP are well and truly “levered out”. So if you want to be on the safe side here, you should have your shock absorbers checked by a professional at least every 20,000 kilometres – during a service or the seasonal wheel change, for instance.

Winter landscape

Regular checking by a professional is hugely important, as the performance of shock absorbers declines “stealthily” in such a way that you get used to the situation. Even in the main check-up that older vehicles have to go through regularly, only a visual check is carried out for this, and the result is highly superficial at best. Over time, an undetected risk is “brewing” in your car. It takes hardly any extra effort to have the shock absorbers tested while servicing or repair work is done or when your wheels are changed, and the costs are negligible.

We recommend looking out for a suspension tester at the selected garage. A visual check only tells you whether the shock absorbers have lost oil and whether some parts are defective. However, the actual wear and tear and the resultant damping effect can only be determined in a test drive or on the suspension tester. Lots of factors affect the service life of shock absorbers: road condition, loading, mileage and driving style. Cold, heat, dust, water and salt can also age them in next to no time. Therefore, the transition to the cold season is the ideal time to check how fit your shock absorbers are for the exertions that lie ahead.

That’s why, wintery roads not only demand the correct tyres but also flawless shock absorbers.