Simply Put: More Wear = Less Vehicle Control
There are two major disadvantages that begin to occur as your shocks (or struts) wear. First, as the shock’s ability to resist wheel & body movement diminishes, it becomes more difficult to control your vehicle. That becomes evident as quick-stopping distances increase and the driver has to compensate for conditions like body roll and nose-diving. The second is increased wear of every other related vehicle component. Since more suspension movement is allowed as the shocks wear, every attached part is subject to additional impacts and wear to those components occurs more quickly. The suspension springs, support arms, bushings, joints and wheel alignment all suffer. That translates to a shorter vehicle life, less vehicle satisfaction and additional repair expenses.
Why less control?
Worn shocks allow more dramatic up & down tire movement. As the tire bounces up, the available tread contact on the pavement decreases. If the tire isn’t gripping the road well, you have traction loss. Cornering, accelerating and stopping can become a problem. Additionally, when you add wet or slippery conditions… well you can imagine the trouble the driver can have.
Why more wear?
It’s a little bit like the old song: “The knee bone is connected to the thigh bone; the thigh bone is connected to…” The extra impact and movement at each attached part causes accelerated deterioration or wear. One worn part causes another… and another… and so on.
The best way to talk about ride control conditions is to show you some examples. Actually all vehicles experience these movements or conditions to some degree. However as more wear occurs, each one finally becomes a control or safety concern. KYB developed a rating system that can be used to discuss various stages of wear.
Conditions Rating Scale
Use this simple guide to compare current conditions to like-new condition or the improvement that new shocks/struts would provide.
How does your vehicle score?
9 ride control conditions:
Panic Stopping: What if the tires can’t grip well? As shocks/struts wear and the tire to road contact becomes less effective, the vehicle can’t stop as well.
Test source RAC (Royal Automotive Club) Test No.996
When you apply the brakes, the tires begin stopping but the vehicle body inertia tries to keep going forward. The result thrusts the front end downward and the back end upward. This imbalance puts stress on the front brakes and reduces the rear brake’s efficiency. The effect then makes controlling and steering the vehicle more difficult.
During cornering, the vehicle body weight tries to lift & roll toward the outside of the turn. Controlling the weight shift or slowing the vehicle speed are the only ways to reduce the effect.
Small bumps and tire movements are transmitted throughout the vehicle. The ride can feel rough, harsh and noisy. This abrupt action affects both driver comfort and tire performance. The result is traction loss and usually along with that, less vehicle satisfaction.