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Have your vehicle suspension system checked by an ASE Certified Technician in Steering & Suspension. 

Schedule service today to visit our auto repair facility on the southwest side of Houston. 

Tip: You need to also have your alignment checked and/or adjusted after any suspension part replacement. 

A shock absorber is a mechanical dampening device used on a vehicle to control the amount of movement in a suspension and to ensure that the tires remain in contact with the road. When a shock absorber is compressed, oil is forced through small holes in the shock absorber valves. Most shock absorbers have multiple valve stages, designed to control different driving situation. Even when drivingon a flat straight road, there are small variation in the road surface. The tires and suspension springs absorb about 1500 movements per mile (about 1000 movements per kilometer). The first stage shock absorber valves, reducing the dampening effect. This allows the springs to keep the wheel bouncing up up and down, impairing the ride quality, causing the tire not to remain in consistent contact with the road, and often causing a rattling or thumping noise, when driving over road imperfections. Larger movements in the suspension use the second stage valve in the shock absorber.

The second stage valves are a series of discs that flex to allow fluid to move in and out of the main chamber. Constant flexing eventually weakens the discs so that they flex too easily. As a result, worn shock absorbers allow bigger than normal suspension movements. Turning the steering wheel causes the vehicle to lean. With worn shock absorber valves, the initial steering input causes the suspension to compress and direction changes are delayed. The steering angle also needs to be increased to compensate for the suspension compression. Valves on good shock absorbers limit the suspension compression, causing the vehicle steering to feel more responsive.

When the second stage valves have flexed to their full extent, the third state valves come into use. These valves allow fluid to leave and enter the main shock absorber chamber rapidly, and are used when the suspension travel is most extreme. Worn shock absorbers allow excessive dive and squat under heavy braking and acceleration, which can reduce the grip of the tires of the road. Extreme suspension movements, such as when hitting a large pothole, can also result in the suspension compression or extending to its limit, with the springs then causing the wheel to bounce, because the shock absorber fails to dampen the rebound movements. 

Services > Suspension > Suspension Parts Defined >  Shock Absorber

Function: ​Minimizes spring bounce and helps keep the wheels in contact with the road.

Signs of Wear: Excessive ball joint play, leaking oil along the shock body, broken mounts or mounting hardware, worn or missing bushings, excessive vehicle bounce, cupped tire wear. 

Suspension Component: Shocks/Struts - Houston's Premier Auto Repair Facility

Services > Suspension > Suspension Parts Defined >  Struts

Function: ​A space-saving unit made up of a shock absorber and coil spring assembly that links the suspension to the chassis and allows the front wheels to turn side to side.

Signs of Wear: Irregular tire wear, play in steering wheel, wetness on shock body, broken mounting hardware, worn bushings.