Symptoms of Bad Shock Absorbers

The function of shock absorbers is to make sure the tires of your vehicle stay on the ground consistently. It does this by managing how the suspension and springs move.
This allows your tires to always be making contact with the road whether driving straight, cornering, going over hills, or driving on a bumpy road. All the vibrations and shakiness from driving on such a road get absorbed by the shock absorber, hence the name.

Do not confuse a shock absorber versus a strut because they have differences. The strut is built into the structure of the suspension system while the shock absorber connects two parts of the suspension together. In other words, all the vehicle’s weight is placed on top of the strut and not the shock absorber.

Bad Shock Absorber Symptoms

The shock absorber or strut can eventually go bad and ultimately fail to work. A lot of people have trouble figuring out which one has gone bad when strange symptoms arise. Below are six of the most commons signs that could indicate you have a faulty shock absorber.

Knocking Noise

When going over various bumps, speed bumps, or potholes and you hear a knocking sound, it likely means you have worn shock absorbers. The noise may be the meal coil springs actually hitting your car’s chassis.
The points on each end of the shock absorber contain rubber bushings. All it would take is for a crack to form in the rubber bushing and it will result in a tapping or knocking sound that you can hear each time you hit a bump while driving.


The shock absorber has valves and piston seals inside of it. If either one of them gets too worn, the flow of fluid won’t be controlled, and it will move through the piston seal and/or valve.
Once that happens, the steering wheel will vibrate each time you drive over a bump, regardless of how big or small it is.

Fluid Leak

The shock absorber’s body has seals to protect it from leaking. After a while, these seals will start to leak fluid along the side of the shock absorber’s body until it falls on the ground.
If the shock loses too much fluid, then it won’t be able to function properly.


If you step on the brake pedal while turning, you may experience swerving or nose-diving. When the shock absorber is faulty, the weight of your car will move in the opposite direction while you’re turning.
This will cause you to swerve and it will take more work just to fix the turn toward the direction you want to go.

Brakes React Slowly

If you step on the brake pedal and your car takes a while to slow down and stop, then there’s a possibility your shock absorber might be faulty.

This could arise from the length of the piston rod not being taken up fast enough by the vehicle. So, the vehicle needs more time to complete this task.

Uneven Tire Wear

Since a bad shock absorber will cause your tires to be unevenly placed on the road, your car will begin to bounce as you drive on it.
Only certain areas of your tire will actually be touching the road, which will result in these areas becoming more worn than the areas which are not touching the road. Therefore, you will have uneven tire wear.

No comments