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How Does the Suspension and Shock Absorbers Work?

09 November 2015, 15:43

How Does the Suspension and Shock Absorbers Work?

Even though they are both relatively easy to understand, it is still worthwhile looking at how exactly both the suspension and shock absorbers in a car work.

If you are worried that this may be rather complex, then you can rest assured that both of these vital components of your car actually work on quite a basic premise.


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Your Suspension

First, you need to understand that your suspension is actually made up of a number of different parts that, when put together, get to work on the steering of the vehicle as well as the ride comfort.

What you must remember is that as you drive along the road there are countless bumps and holes as no road is exactly smooth. When you go over a hole or a bump, there is a lot of energy created through the wheel that then goes into the car.

The suspension is made up of a number of components with each one working in unison with the next to give you a comfortable ride.

The main reason for the existence of the suspension system is to absorb the energy that is created by the bumps in the road.

When you go over a bump, the springs in the suspension absorbs that energy to prevent it from reaching you in the car.

As the energy passes through the spring, it is then the job of the shock to really dampen the impact while also preventing the springs from oscillating too much.

These springs and shocks are then joined onto the struts, but the entire thing is designed to move up and down with the road and this is achieved by ball joints that are greased in order to provide a greater freedom of movement as you drive along.

In other words, the suspension deals with energy and keeps the tyres on the road as much as possible to provide you with a better ride.

The Shock Absorbers

We quickly mentioned them earlier, but it is worth running over the details once again. With the shock absorbers on your car what they mainly do is they take what is known as kinetic energy which is created when your suspension kicks into action with a bump or a hole in the road.

It then takes this energy, which remember is linked to movement, and it then turns it into thermal energy, which means heat, and it then allows that energy to dissipate throughout the frame of the car.

The way in which they actually work is amazing. The shock absorber itself is really in the form of a hydraulic piston that contains fluid within a tube. When your suspension moves up and down, tiny holes allow varying amounts of this fluid to pass through it.

As a result of this, the movement of the piston is actually slowed down and this then leads to both the springs and the suspension system itself to slow down meaning there is less movement and you get a more comfortable ride.

As you can see, with shock absorbers it uses some simple mechanics in an extremely efficient way. It deals with the energy in a way that benefits the car and it protects the rest of the suspension system from being damaged.

Both the suspension and the shock absorbers play an integral role in the way that your car not only works, but how it handles and how comfortable it is on the road. Without it, life would be a whole lot different and it would certainly not be as enjoyable as it should be.


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